Two tragic shootings in as many days. Yesterday, there was a shooting at a mall in Oregon. The latest one happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. As facts flood my mind, my heart aches. While trying to take it all in, the same question comes to my mind. Who shoots children?
According to reports, the gunman’s mother taught at Sandy Hook. After shooting the principle, the gunmen when to his mother’s classroom and killed some of her students. So far, 20 children and six adults, including the school’s principal died. Another adult was found at what police are calling a “secondary crime scene” in Newtown, Connecticut.
This is a profound tragedy for the parents, family and friends who are shocked, grieving, and still processing what happened. Parents are living their worst nightmare as they learn their son or daughter won’t be going home with them tonight or any other.
They are enduring the worst kind of grief that may fade in time, but will be with them for the rest of their lives. It’s a grief that has an intensity that is so profound, there are no words to adequately describe it.
I can’t begin to comprehend how a parent feels when this happens. My condolences are with the families, while recognizing that the thing they want more than anything else is for their child to come home, safe and sound.
There are children who are being held tightly by their loving and thankful parents. My heart is aching for children who lived through the sort of nightmare no child should ever have to know, while being thankful that they are in their parents’ loving arms.
At the same time, I’m thankful that my nephews, living elsewhere in Connecticut are enjoying a Friday afternoon. Their innocence remains intact. Their Friday was blissfully spared of any events beyond the ordinary.
There are so many questions and random thoughts. Who were the children? What interests did they have? Did they have pets? What were their hopes and dreams? What could have been?
Then there are the other questions that will take days, weeks and months if ever to answer. Like who shoots children and why?
The President was right when he said this happens too often. We need to have frank discussions and take action – at an appropriate point in the future.
As facts emerge, I continue to think about the children whose lives barely began. I’m thinking of the things they’ll never see again, like a clear blue sky, a rainbow and their mother’s smiling face. I think of the time and experiences they were denied. Playing with their friends, hugging their parents, tasting a snowflake.
The special occasions in which they will be remembered, but won’t be here to experience – like their future birthdays which were transformed from a day of unconditional joy to a bittersweet time in which they are remembered for who they were. There may be thoughts about who they could have been and perhaps what they could have made a difference in the world. The milestone moments that will never happen. The children who will never be born. The friendships that could have been, the discoveries that could have been made.
No one should have to experience this.
There will be a day in the future to figure out how we can at least minimize this senseless loss of life, and unbearable pain for yet more American families.
None of this makes sense and it never will. We may learn more about the facts, about the gunman and why he did it. But it won’t make sense because no sense can be made of tragedies like this.