I don’t even know where to start. I have thought about this since Friday, about what I could possibly say that would in some way make sense of the tragedy that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut, it has occurred to me that there will never be a way to make sense of this. It was the most vile of tragedies and it rocked me to my core. I shook and sobbed, wept and cried and held my kids close. It was this overwhelming sense that my children are not safe anywhere, not a high school, a college, a movie theatre and now, not even an elementary school. That frightens me on so many levels. I leave my kids every morning with the sad assumption that I will see them that afternoon and I can’t help but think how many of those parents thought the same thing. My heart aches for those parents, the siblings and the entire community that will be forever changed by this senseless act. An entire portion of that generation is not there anymore.
There have been many reports that have been put out into the media and while I understand it is their job, I think they have an obligation to wait on information until they know they have the facts straight. Reporting immediately that the person who had committed this heinous crime was on the Autism Spectrum, without any knowledge other than they think he was socially awkward. Yes, that may be one of the symptoms, but not enough to diagnose someone who they have no information on at this point. Having a son on the Spectrum it made me so sad. I don’t want people to assume that because you have Autism or a form of, that you will wind up having violent tendencies. Studies actually show that someone who has Autism is more likely to be a victim of a violent crime rather than cause one. I do not want my son lumped in with someone who clearly had so many other things going on. But that is the most I will say about that person again. I do not wish to see his picture, know his name or his history. Chances are we will never know why he made those choices and I think it too many situations we remember the names of the bad guys and not the ones that were lost. That is where our attention as a country needs to go, to the victims. From the hero teachers who helped save entire classrooms and the Principal and teachers who lost their lives saving the students. For the first responders and the horror that they had to witness. We grieve for them.
I had to sit down with my daughter over the summer and explain to her how a really bad guy went into movie theater here and shot a bunch of people. While visiting Nathan in the hospital we would go by the memorial site and she could not fathom the idea of someone doing that. Then on Friday when I picked her up from school, she could tell that I was visibly upset and wanted to know what was wrong. I had to sit her down and tell her that a bad guy went into a school and hurt a lot of innocent people. I should NOT have to have these conversations with my 10-year-old child about people killing people at schools. She started to cry and said that she is scared to go to school now. I did not want to give her too many details as to not traumatize her any more, but every parent explains things differently and all these kids talk, so I am not sure what she will hear.
I cannot say that I will drop them off without holding my breath, but I think it will be a collective breath held by every parent across the world. This is the place that we take them that they have always been safe. It does not feel that way anymore. While I know that this is rare, it does happens but I pray that we can stop this violence from infiltrating any further. For now let’s remember:
Charlotte: 6, Daniel: 7, Rachel:29, Olivia:6, Josephine: 7, Ana: 6, Dylan: 6, Dawn: 47, Madeline: 6, Catherine: 6, Chase: 7, Jesse: 6, James: 6, Grace: 7, Anne-Marie: 52, Emilie: 6, Jack: 6, Noah: 6, Caroline: 6, Jessica: 6, Avielle: 6, Lauren: 30, Mary: 56, Victoria: 27, Benjamin: 6, Allison: 6.
For these are the ones we should never forget.