The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut has shattered that community and once again re-defined our notion of safe harbor. To most, what happened in that once-bucolic, New England town is unthinkable. To many it will be unrecoverable.
I’ve watched the coverage and read the blogs. To no avail I’ve tried over and over to meld all that into a cogent piece. Those who tell us that they will make sense of it for us are pandering to our lust for closure and the belief that it is inevitable. You can not make sense of the senseless.
Some will use the events of Friday morning to further their own agendas, especially gun control proponents. I support the Second Amendment, but I agree that we need to do more to restrict gun accessibility to the mentally unstable and criminally intended. How that can be accomplished, I do not know, but I doubt if any type of gun restriction would’ve prevented Friday’s tragedy. This is not a perfect world and there is no way to ensure everyone’s safety at all times.
A priest on TV smiled and said there were 20 new stars in Heaven. I’m not a believer. I don’t think there is a “better place” for young children than with the families that give their worlds meaning. If there is a God and this was his His plan, I challenge Him to come up with a better plan. Some can accept life dealing them a crappy hand and are kept in line with the promise of eternal bliss. I’m not one of them.
In “It Takes A Village”, Hillary Clinton tells us that we need to make America into the kind of village that enables children to become smart, able, resilient adults. It would seem to the casual onlooker that the idyllic town of Newtown, Connecticut was just such a village. And yet, something was missing, something that might have revealed a looming horror brewing in the mind of a young man in the midst of what has been described as a “tight-knit” community.
When President Obama spoke on TV he was not speaking as the President of the United States. He spoke as a father who understands what it is to fear for the safety of his own children, as a man who could understand the depth of despair this parent’s worst nightmare inflicts. The tears he wiped from his eyes were real. He was visibly shaken. This was clearly personal for him, as it should be for all of us.
This shooting, more than any of the others is so disturbing on so many levels, it seems to speak to the very core of our culture and who we’ve become. It should take some time for any sane person to gather thoughts about something so shocking and yet, at the same time so tragically mundane.
Like mis-matched pieces of a puzzle, I can’t quite squeeze these thoughts into a complete picture. I know a little bit about bullets and the damage possible when their trajectory intersects with flesh and bone and I can clearly visualize the carnage Adam Lanza’s arsenal of weapons wreaked upon those tiny bodies. I can’t imagine, though what abject terror those children felt as they watched their classmates ripped to shreds, knowing that they themselves had only moments to live, their lives cut short before they even began.
Arguably, many more innocent lives will be lost in the maze of our urban culture of illicit drug trafficing and its companion violence. Nonetheless, we can’t minimize the impact and the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School. If we can’t protect our children in Newtown, Connecticut, can they be safe anywhere in America?
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