So, the last time that I wrote I was dealing with the revelations that Ally's dear friend had been molested. Evil, as I said. Then, just 12 days ago, the whole country heard the story of a different kind of an evil. The tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. I didn't really want to write about this, but every time I thought of a possible blog post, it felt flippant to NOT address the shootings.
I was home alone that day, with both kids in school/day care. I had seen a headline that morning about a shooter at an elementary school, but considering it didn't state "x number of people killed" or whatnot, I assumed that they disarmed him. Obviously, I was wrong. It was 2 or 3 hours later that I saw the news on tv or facebook and was horrified, of course. I truly felt like I was going to be sick to my stomach. Who does that? What kind of evil person does that? Now, my undergrad degree (well, my only degree so far) is in psychology, so I do understand and emphathize with issues of mental health. But this goes beyond any kind of understanding.
I tried to avoid the news, but you can't, unless you physically turn off the tv, radio and computer. Yet at the same time, I was drawn to it, trying to understand it, probably deep down, trying to figure out what happened so that somehow I can keep my babies safe. I picked Ally up at her regular time, and picked Kelly up early. I just wanted my girls where I could see them and hug them.
There was a quote misattributed to Morgan Freeman, that stated disturbed people look at the way the mainstream media covers such tragedies, and how we know the names of the shooters but rarely the victims, and that people crave that attention. I have to agree with that to a certain extent. I appreciated that Anderson Cooper wouldn't say the shooter's name.
We didn't know what to say to Ally. I know that some schools had a moment of silence for the victims, so I wanted her to have an idea of what they were talking about. So, we broached the subject by stating that something bad happened and people died. It wasn't until a few days later that I told her it was at a school. I don't want her scared to go to school. Of course, this is one of the core issues with these shootings--are we not supposed to send our kids to school? To a movie theater? To see a polician speak? I think that Giselle summed it up very well. At school, those people are there because they love kids. They would do anything to keep the kids safe. The teachers and staff in Sandy Hook? True heroes.
And I broached it for nothing--she said that the school didn't mention it. I did think it was important to point out, again, as Giselle mentioned, that if a teacher tells you to do something weird like everyone hiding in a closet or whatever, to do it. One thing that has irritated me is that we have received no letter or even automated call from our principal or superintendent. I didn't want to be another parent inundating the principal with calls, but I'm sure that I'm not the only parent wanting to know that our school has a plan and practices for such situations.
This tragedy has affected most people, I think. Sadly, when most of us hear about a death or something sad, we quickly forget about it. I don't think that has happened with this situation. Certainly not for me. I look at Kelly's little face when I am tucking her in and just get upset again, not understanding how someone could shoot a small child. These children were somewhere in between the ages of my girls. It horrifies me to think of the fear and pain in that classroom. How many cried for their parents. It's just too much. I can't imagine what those first responders how to live with. With the shooting happening so close to the holidays, I just feel that it adds another layer of horror. If you lose someone, even a parent or grandparent, the holidays are tough. Even years later. But to lose a child, and right before Christmas, it's unfathomable. I kept thinking of the unopened presents that are probably sitting in these families' house and it brings me to tears. While I'm not a religious person, I hope that these families find some comfort from their faith or their friends/family to see them through this time.