I am sitting here on the couch just trying to keep it together. I’m struck with the urge to puke, scream and cry, all at the same time. My mind, my body, my soul are racked with grief for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Newtown, Connecticut, will now join the ranks of towns like Columbine and Aurora, Colorado, as places that have been victims of senseless and horrific shootings. But something about this story, whose victims, at the time of this posting, include 26 innocent people (18 of whom are children) according to ABC News has really struck a nerve, a very raw and primal nerve.
I think back to the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, at the time I thought it was sad and a horrible thing to happen in any community. But that did not have the same effect on my soul as the Sandy Hook shooting has. All humans have the capacity to feel empathy for victims and their families, but in my case a switch was flicked when I became a parent. When I became a mother, my heart became filled with love for not just my own child, but children everywhere. That is why the school shooting in Newtown, feels like someone punched me in the gut. I can not stop thinking about the probable fear on the children’s faces when confronted by the gunmen, the lifelong emotional scars that the witnesses will likely be cursed with, and the heartbreak of the mothers and fathers whose children lost their lives at the hands of a madman.
This sort of thing is not supposed to happen. Our children are supposed to go to school to learn and the worst thing they should fall victim to is perhaps some bullying (which I am not belittling in anyway, it is a horrible act in itself), or a scraped knee while playing kickball. They are not supped to be shot. I am sitting here on the couch listening to the news, coping with my emotions by writing about this event right here, and totally fighting the urge to rush to my daughter’s school, run to her classroom and hug her as hard as I can.
The shooting doesn’t just make me sad; it makes me angry.
And I’m not alone. Some of my favorite bloggers and dear friends posted similar sentiments on Facebook:
“How many deadly school shootings will it take for this country to advocate for gun control??!!! Stop the madness….please… Praying for all those families….no one should have to go through this.” – Ana Flores of SpanglishBaby.com
“Two towns over, two gunmen went into an elementary school and they have confirmed at least a dozen people have been killed. A fucking elementary school. I am sick to my stomach and my faith in humanity is almost gone. So close to home, I am so glad my little boy is home from school finally.” – Danielle A. Elwood
“In less than an hour, I go pick up my kindergartener from school. It’s a happy time of day for us both. I am currently in tears of rage thinking of those parents who lost their children today — and, in a less acute but more chronic tragedy, thinking of how all of us have to reconcile living in a society where semi-automatic machine guns can be turned on babies and it’s treated as a political debate with two reasonable sides.” - Kate Tuttle
“I don’t even want the details of the CT shooting. Is that wrong? I just, I’ve covered so many school shootings during my years at Babble. My grandparents died from gun violence. I get it. I don’t need to be shocked yet again. Take the guns, lock them up.” – Carolyn Castiglia of Babble.com (Carolyn shared her story about her grandparents on XO Jane which you can check out here.)
My dear friend Marc Tamo said on Facebook, “We need to dig into what the hell is wrong with our country to motivate someone to go and do something like this. Having a kindergarden kid it makes me feel sick to my stomach to think of him and his classmates staring at a person with a gun…and getting shot. Some resources in our country need to be put towards figuring this out so we can stop this internal warfare on our children – AT SCHOOL!”
And my pal Scott Evans wrote, “Our nation has a huge problem, that people can’t find another answer to their hate. I want to cry.”
We may not know any of the children, teachers or families affected, but we all are touched by this tragedy.
We will be hearing about this story for days, weeks, months, and years. And it will, no doubt, become fodder in the heated battle over gun control in our country. But for now, let’s put differences aside and send our love toward the families of Newtown.
Photo Source: istockphoto