I don’t know what to say about this; I really don’t.
Words sometimes fail us, and it always seems to be the times when we need them the most.
My prayers are for the families devastated by this…I started to write “tragedy” but this isn’t a tragedy. It’s an abomination. Tragedy conjures up notions of an accident, an unintended incident, or a confluence of events proceeding implacably through to destruction.
That’s not what this is. This is a deliberate action taken by a man; it isn’t tragic. It’s horrific.
Later we may find out something that will allow most of us to sit back and say, “Oh! That’s why he did it! He was ____________!” Just fill in the blank with the excuse of your choice and go back to your life having safely pigeonholed this event into a neat category.
But I don’t know if there is a neat category for something like this, and I’m damned sure I don’t want to live in a world where anything can neaten this up. I don’t care what this guy was like, what happened to him, who did what to him to make him feel like it was acceptable to walk into a school and massacre little children. No matter what we are, no matter what difficulties we face, no matter what anybody has done to us, we all have a choice.
He chose to murder the most innocent among us in cold blood.
Yeah, I know, there will be talking heads who will come out and say he wasn’t really responsible for his actions because he was depressed. Or on drugs. Or disabled. Or abused.
There are millions of people in the same circumstances who don’t go take out a school.
He made a choice and dozens of people died.
In the weeks to come, we will hear the airwaves filled with the cries of the people demanding that somebody do SOMETHING to keep this from happening again. The usual loons will spout their usual diatribes, generating the predictable reactions from the predictable sources, and pretty soon, these kids and their families will no longer matter except as chips in the big game.
Well, I’m not going to play, thank you very much. I refuse to use the blood of innocents as a way to push my beliefs. So I will neither post nor respond to comments during the coming “debate on guns” mainly because it won’t be a debate; it will be hysterical people making asinine charges on one side and equally hysterical people making counter claims on the other.
And neither side will hear the silence emanating from a classroom so recently filled with life and laughter and now so devastatingly quiet. Neither side will hear the awful groaning of the parents, brothers and sisters of the fallen, as 3 a.m. rolls by and they still can’t sleep, praying desperately to hear their child laugh one more time. Neither side will see some of those parents torn from each other in their grief, nor will they celebrate those who are brought closer. Neither side will hear the quiet tears 5 years from now as these families approach the Christmas season with dread instead of cheer.
And neither side would care even if they did hear, unless it made a good sound bite for their side.
I have a friend who lost her son to cancer right about this time several years ago. He was the same age as some of the older victims, and I see her pain every year at this time. Now, I can’t help but to see the pain of these parents, facing similar but dreadfully different circumstances. My mind makes inane comparisons. Would it be better to know it’s coming and have the opportunity to let go and say goodbye, or would foreknowledge make the pain even worse, watching your child go away right before you? It makes no difference; pain is not subject to mathematics. There is no “more pain” or “less pain” when the subject is the death of a child. There is just pain.
For me, I’ve had enough. It’s time for a moment of silence. Let the hypocrites dance in the blood of the victims in the name of security and/or freedom. I won’t play.
Instead, I’m going to think about the families who were robbed of their joy this Christmas. The classroom is silent now, and I think on this issue, it is appropriate for me to be silent as well. When the inevitable cries go out, and you know they will, I will not respond with anything other than a shake of my head and a question:
“Have you no shame?”
I’m going to concentrate on the children and their families, not just on the lives lost, but on who they were and what they brought to the world during their short time here. I’m going to think on their birthdays past, and the summer trips taken. I’ll listen for echoes of their laughter in the silence instead of filling it with the sound of strident voices clamoring for advantage. I’ll mourn for the bright futures denied and I’ll pray for those who were lost and those who were saved and most of all, for those who were left behind.
Because this isn’t about me and you. It isn’t about us. It isn’t about policies and rights and laws and regulations and freedom and security and all of that stuff.
This is about them, and what happened to them.