Another Scar for America, How Many More Do We Have to Endure?
My son is a first grader. I was having lunch with him and his classmates when a school across the country was going one of the most traumatic experiences any human can go through. As I was laughing and kissing his cheek as I left, a class of first graders lay dead or dying. A whole school was under siege and the lives of the those who survived will never be the same. How do any of those kids from Sandy Creek go back to school and feel safe…ever?! How does a parent of a child who survived that ever send their child school again? On Friday, I sobbed when I drove home from running errands as the news unfurled the tragedy, horrific detail after every horrific detail.
As I was in my car, listening to the news unfold, I asked God to forgive us for being the society that we are right now. I screamed to myself in the car, “Who does this?! Who would go out and shoot children?!” I raged and sobbed. My son was safe in his classroom but I wanted to turn around, go back to his classroom, and sit next to him for the rest of the day.
I did not tell him what happened on his birthday, the day he had been looking forward to since July. I have shielded him from all news of what happened because I don’t want him to go to school wondering if this could happen to his class. In time, I may talk about it with him, I may not. But right now, I want my little boy to stay little and not worry. I don’t want him to yet know the evil that is out in the world, the callousness of some of our society. I cannot lay this heavy of a burden on him so young.
The tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut has shaken me to the core. Every parental nerve is on high alert and there has been a day since it happened that I haven’t wept for those children and their families. I feel for every one of the people directly affected by the shooting in Newtown. I have cried with them and prayed for each and every one of them. I’ve prayed that they’ll be comforted somehow. But I know that is a futile prayer. Those parents will live in torment the rest of their lives; this is their hell on Earth.
Perhaps this event will finally show our society that something needs to change: gun laws, mental health policies, school safety procedures. I just saw tonight on the news that our chances are less to be involved in a school shooting than being struck by lightning. Sure, that may be true but if you ask me, any chance is too many.
I watched the President’s public address from Newtown and, again, tears came as he read each of the children’s names who were killed. These are names that each of us have in our own kids’ classrooms. Each of those children are our children. We are connected through the love we have as parents to our children. We are connected through the love we have for our siblings, our parents, our extended family, and our friends. My hope is that through this, we can open our eyes a little wider to what is happening to our society.
Are children becoming so desensitized that they see life like a video game? Can we now address the violence in which our children are being exposed to each and every day through television and media and recognize the true impact? Can we as a parental society now reject our past callous ways and guide our children with loving and compassion? I want a movement where parents take back their children. They shut down the violent video games and movies. They turn them away from violence in the news. These are not meant for children in the first place. Children are to be nurtured, loved, guided and protected. And in tragedies like these, it sure looks like we are doing a piss poor job.
I have been sending my thoughts of prayer to those in Newtown and will continue to do so. We are all hurting with you. The magnitude of your loss has sent waves of pain to the rest of the country, perhaps the world. Sadly, we will continue to feel the pain until all of our whole society is safe from monsters with weapons used for murder, not protection.