When atrocities like the Connecticut school shooting happen, we often say that “we have no words”. What we mean is that although we may try to “have” or write the words down, they are never the right ones. They are never the right ones because it is difficult to express how we feel in moments like these. Impossible even. Because it stretches beyond our comprehension, causes us to question our humanity, makes us stop and think about how fundamentally broken we are as a species, and takes away our hope.
It is the heartbreaking truth that children (and adults) die all over the globe, every day, in different degrees of suffering, in a myriad of unthinkable ways. And although many of us know this, it often takes something as visceral as the school shooting yesterday to shock us deeply, to make us tremble and to pull our loved ones closer to us.
I am no expert in gun law, in politics or in psychology, I am just a person, who loves others and is loved. And I am a parent. So the horror of the scene in Newtown touches me so deeply because it is the one thing that as a parent, you dread more than anything else in the world. Every life is precious. But to imagine those little children’s terror and confusion at the precise moment the gunman entered their classroom and to know, that as their parents, you could do nothing to protect them and comfort them as they were senselessly slaughtered, well, that is more than any one person can handle.
I haven’t been able to stop crying about it. I look at Sky News, I watch Obama’s speech and then I cry some more. I can’t stop asking myself, as every parent around the world today is doing too, what if it was my precious child, my daughter, my son? How could I go on?
You also ask yourself what you as an ordinary citizen can do. For unless we make changes, these incidents will keep happening. We can rally for change in the US gun laws, that’s for sure. But although that forms a very large part of the problem, what about the other part, the fact that we are failing as a society, that everything is so completely messed up? What do we do about humanity, how do we move forward, what changes do we make? Because at our core, we know that we must have failed that gunman too, for him to act like he did.
I don’t have any answers. I’m pouring over with emotion, raw from sadness and grateful, yes – grateful. Maybe all we can do in moments like these is be more patient, be more loving, be better. Because no matter what future investigations reveal about what happened, what “justice” or compensation is provided to those affected, nothing will bring those children and teachers back.
This Christmas and forever, there will be raw gaping wounds in the lives of those in Newtown, wounds which will never ever heal. And no amount of posturing, of debating about it , of writing about it, of changing laws, will be able to reverse what happened yesterday, and what has happened in similar shootings before. We have failed them, we have failed ourselves and the future looks very bleak.
My thoughts and strength go out to all the families affected by this atrocity.