Monday, December 17, 2012

Trying To Find Words When There Are None

I saw this on my Twitter feed late Friday afternoon, a quote from CNN's Anderson Cooper:

"All our words seem so small, so meaningless in the face of such horror."

I really think that perfectly sums up how I feel about the tragedy that happened last week in Newtown, Connecticut.  I've (mostly) silently obsessed about the event since my phone beeped with an alert of the breaking news story, teetered on the brink of tears for a good portion of the past three days, had moments where it felt as though I could literally feel my heart breaking for that entire community.  I had it mostly reigned in by Friday night, or so I thought, until they started releasing photographs of those innocent angels that were taken so brutally from this world in a location that should be a haven of nothing but safety and security for all children who enter its doors.

I am so torn.  I am grieving for those parents who are going through unimaginable pain.  I am heartbroken that we as a nation have lost eight adults and those 20 innocent souls, so beautiful and bright, trusting and untainted by the world's ugliness.  I am trying to imagine how the teachers of that school will find the strength to walk back into their school and lead their students forward, trying to resume a sense of normalcy in a world that is now forever changed for those that walk those halls.  I struggle with very personal questions that I can't answer and, I pray to God, won't ever have to be:  Could this happen in my community?  Would I put myself directly in the path of evil in order to save the lives of others?  Would I be able to maintain my professional duty to care for someone else's child when I know that my own daughters are so close to imminent danger?

Above these feelings of grief, I am angry.  Am I angry at the alleged shooter?  No.  My heart breaks for him too.  What he did is atrocious and inexcusable, but it pains me to know that people are hurting so desperately that they resort to such vicious acts.  Am I angry at the shooter's mother?  No.  I can not judge her choices and actions - or lack thereof - when I do not know the life she lived.  And, like her son, the fate she suffered hurts my heart.

I am angry at this nation.  I am angry that almost instantly this country was embattled once again in a political debate. In a moment that should have unified us we were instead arguing.  More guns.  Less guns.  No guns.  Guns everywhere.  Improved access to services for individuals with mental illness.  You can't cure crazy, might as well just ship them off some a secluded island.  I'm not saying there's not the need for these conversations.  I think gun laws probably should be investigated, and I'll be the first to agree that the services available to and provided for people with mental illness is in serious need of reform.  But these first few days after such a horrific event, I feel, should be sacred.  

I have no idea but I sincerely doubt that parents of those six and seven year old children are screaming for new legislation.  Their focus is on their loss, on trying to figure out how they are going to live the rest of their lives with a significant portion of it missing forever.  Wouldn't we honor those families and the memories of those lost most appropriately not by engaging in social media warfare over whose opinion is the right one but instead by standing together for just a few moments, sharing the burden of their grief even if we can only try to imagine how deep it runs?

My opinion is only that - mine.  I have no doubts many disagree with me.  I guess that's one of the beautiful thing about this country.  I can have this little corner of the internet to spew my thoughts and feelings and no one can tell me that's not okay.  Above all that we disagree on, though, I think we can all agree that this one moment in time will change the way we live forever.   


Munchkin said...

I have refused to let myself think about it except for watching a little of the news Friday, I think because I just can't wrap my head around it.

Anonymous said...

Amen. It is amazing that people have come up with the solutions to a problem when they do not know what the problem is. Our politicians have become so reactionarie that they will go to their base, when what we need is to come together, a nation united. We need to look at our society as a whole, how we have changed our values. Guns, movies, video game, music,protests, even political debate needs to be looked at to find why there is such division in this country. Please, let us come together, tell our children that there is a brighter future in this great country. Maybe this tragedy will be the spark that will bring US back together. BB

Anonymous said...

Beautifuly said Mrs. Old Lady

The Page Turner said...

Good points Mrs. I also agree with Munchkin. So hard to wrap my head around it.
I grieve that so many children cannot grow up feeling safe and secure everywhere like I did as a child. Schools and home should be safe places for children.
Mrs. if there is one thing I feel sure of, you would do the right thing. You would protect the children. You would trust that your children's teachers were protecting them.
Is your school locked? Just curious.

Tru Stories said...

I really appreciate that you included his mother in the death count... it bothers me how many outlets are excluding her as a victim.

And without question, you would have given your life, for any child. You are a great person.

The Mrs. said...

Page Turner, of the five schools in our district you have to be buzzed in at three of them (the high school, intermediate school, and early childhood center). The other two - the elementary and middle schools - you have to walk directly into the office before entering the school. There were already knew (minor) security procedures at a couple of the schools (e.g., instead of just being buzzed in you are now asked for your name and your purpose for being at the school). After the Christmas break we will be meeting at the elementary school to discuss additional security procedures we, as a staff, feel could be implemented to increase safety and security. My number one suggestion: doors that lock from the inside either on the knob or with a dead bolt placed near the top of the door.

Tina said...

I had to stop watching the news, especially when the photos of the children were released. I cried as I watched the Today show, and Gi asked me, "Why are you crying, Mama?" What can I even begin to tell her? I think I frightened her, because she went into the corner by the door and stood by herself for a few minutes. I pulled myself together and we went on with our day.

I asked myself the same questions, too - would I be brave enough to risk my own life for my students? Or would I cower in fear?

It is a scary world we live in. Thanks for your thoughts.


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