Whenever my husband and I talk about where we can cut bills here and there to save a little money, the first thing we agree on is downgrading our television programming and sometimes even cutting it out together. But the one thing that holds me from doing that is, what if there’s a national tragedy or crisis going on and I want to tune in to find more about it? While yes, I can always use the internet to find out the latest information, there’s just something about turning on the television and watching endless hours of CNN or one of the other television channels to find out every last detail while I’m either cuddling on the couch with my dogs and in shock or eating dinner with my family in horrified silence.
Today is one of those days. Children’s lives have been taken in what looks like one of the most horrific mass shootings in our nation’s history. Watching the news stations replay the same shots of the parents and law enforcement officers surrounding Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newport, Conn. over and over again, as a parent, I can’t help but feel like I’m there, too. I’m there because I’ve lost my appetite, my mind is numb, and my heart aches. It’s the same feeling I had over eleven years ago when I couldn’t stop watching the coverage of the 9/11 terrorism attack in New York City or when our troops first invaded Iraq shortly thereafter. Even though you go on with your day, you just can’t help but keep the television on to find out and learn more about this painstakingly horrible tragedy. And you just can’t help but recall “what I did” while you were watching the news on those very eventful days.
I know this might sound weird to some, but I feel a connection to the people affected by these horrible episodes that get continual coverage around the clock when they happen. As horrible as they sometimes are, as a parent and as a citizen of our country and the human race, I want to learn from it, educate others about it, and hopefully be part of the movement that makes sure it never happens again. This isn’t about saving money on our satellite package anymore, it’s about virtually reaching through my television and wanting to give a hug to each and every parent of that elementary school.
In the meantime, CNN will quietly be running in the background tonight as I thank my lucky stars that my children are sleeping with me and pray for those parents whose lives will just never be the same. And as I watch the news to find out the who, the what, and the most important why, I can’t help but squeeze my children a little tighter, hug them a little longer, and be thankful that they are safe.