Today a person walked into an elementary school in Connecticut and fired what is believed to be over 100 bullets into the bodies of his mother, a kindergarten teacher, five other adults, and twenty little kids, between the age of 5-11. Kindergarteners to fifth graders attended this school. In an afternoon, this person, who then killed himself, changed this small town in ways that may never be quantified. This is the only news story on the radio today. I listened to a man who had lived in this town for 54 years tell how the city came to be in the 1700s, and how close-knit it is. The town has 28,000 people, making it a bit smaller than the town next door to my hometown. I listened to a kindergarden teacher discuss how she could hear the shots, but the kids obviously didn't know what that sound was, and how she wanted to stay quiet to hear what was happening, but also wanted the kids to make noise to show that they could think of other things. She just sounded so...tired. Like it hadn't set in, and it was just beyond what can be processed. I listened to another announcer tell a teacher's story, in which she asked all of the kids to close their eyes and hold hands on the way out - so that they wouldn't see anything else scary. Some of the kids were so matter of fact about it, and others just cried for parents. It's so much to process as an adult - I have no idea how a 7 year old processes such horror. One little boy who lost his sister, wanted to know who he would play with. I would never say that people without children cannot feel empathy for this situation, but I know that it has affected me much more that I could have predicted, now that I have a baby. These babies killed were a little older than mine, but all of those parents watched these little people struggle to sleep a few hours in a row, to sit up on their own, to crawl across the floor, and to stand up on their own. My baby is tenacious in his attempts to stand and take a few steps on his own, at nine months old, and I can't say that I'm a little proud that he seems to already have my never give up attitude. Today I had to sign two boo-boo reports as my lil had two attempt-to-stand injuries - both just minor scratches and a little bruise. The director of the daycare wanted to know if I was freaking out, and, since I arrived nearly two hours earlier than normal, I barely paid attention to this issue. All I wanted to do was hold my son as close as he would let me, and just consider how lucky I was that I was able to pick up my healthy robust child that evening.
I finally gave up listening to the radio stories, and I stopped reading facebook. I don't want to hear from the people who insist that gun rights are more important than my child's right to attend a safe elementary school. The gunman, incidentally, had procured his gun legally. The second amendment allows for the formation of a militia to overturn a dictatorial government - most of the people in support of this couldn't form a running club, let alone a militia. These are the same people who scream that they are pro-life - they should just admit that what they are is anti-sex. More and more of the incidents occur, and this wasn't a worry I had as a child. I dread the day that my son fears going to the third grade because someone could shoot up the place with an NRA approved weapon meant to overturn a government in which one is too lazy to even vote for new leadership.
The President teared up - like so so many of us today - and I cannot help but wonder what the parents in Newtown Connecticut are doing during their bedtime routines this evening. My heart goes out to the parents of these babies killed for no reason, and to the teachers who did everything they could to protect these little kids, and most of all to all of us who have to live in a world that so many think is so terrible that they need guns to defend themselves from potential harms and do not see the harm they cause the community at large with this thinking.