I keep seeing people post about the Connecticut tragedy on Facebook, and it's starting to really bother me. It's becoming a meme- photos and quotes (only half real) spreading like LOLcats, and I can hardly check Facebook without wanting to punch someone.
For so many people, this shooting is nothing more than another way to divide themselves. Into liberals and conservatives, into "good parents" and "bad parents," into Christians and heathens. Is more division really what will help those on the fringes of society? Or the rest of us?
Too many people think there was one singular cause and therefore there must be one singular solution to fix everything. Too many people think they know what that one singular solution is, and think there can be no compromise.
NO tragedy is that simple.
And I refuse to believe in any way that God could have wanted this to happen. I refuse to believe for a second that morality or His love are absent from schools just because we don't lead a prayer together every morning but have a moment of silence instead. I may not always put His name on it, but my students are learning right from wrong and to love one another EVERY single day, and I know that's true in many of your classrooms, too.
There is no way to blame this on one thing.
There was a young boy who may have had autism. He was smart, but it sounds as though the school wasn't able or willing to offer what he needed. There was a mom, who advocated for her son and eventually homeschooled him, clearly trying to do what was best for her child. There was divorce, dividing a family and its security. There was a mental illness, most likely, that crept into the family and caused conflict. The healthcare system, our culture, or even just our brain knowledge kept the illness from being treated as it could be. There was access to guns, which meant that conflict turned deadly. There was a desire to cause pain, a desire whose roots we may never know, that led this man to a school. There was a safety system in place with only small flaws, but they were exposed by terror. There were brave people who kept it from being worse than the tragedy it already was, but still, parents and families go home with one less member to love here on Earth.
For so many people, this was a one day event- just a news story, or a problem with a quick fix, or the ride to a political agenda.
This was not one day. It was a lifetime leading up to it, and it would take at least as long to fix all of the issues that contributed to this awful tragedy.
This isn't just news.
For me, this is a nightmare.
I'm doing the best I can to just keep going with my job, to try to focus on the positives, to encourage my kids to act through kindness...
But I'm not sleeping well. I'm moody. My mind is racing whenever I'm not busy. I keep having flashbacks to the moment when my innocence was taken.
It was when my dad died. And just when I thought hearing that news, at age 11, was the worst thing that could ever happen, we had to tell my brother.
He was seven.
I remember, clearly, watching him absolutely crumble as we told him.
It was the worst moment of my life, hands-down.
I can't imagine a school full of children like him.
As hard as that day was, it was the days after that I remember being worse. The first day, you're in shock, and it doesn't really seem real. But then things start to sink in, and the explanation you've been waiting for somehow doesn't really ever arrive, and you slowly become a different person entirely because there is simply no return to the previous normal.
I can't imagine losing people in THIS way, in a way that not only destroys your sense of normalcy but also your sense of safety and security, especially as a child.
I know this is negative, and it's not what anyone really wants to read, but I'm so frustrated and I need to get this out to people who might understand. The world is handling this like it happened so far away, but really, it could have happened in MY school, to ME, and to MY class.
And I can't stop imagining the situation in my head, wondering if I would have the courage to do what some of those teachers did to protect their kids.
I'd love to say I absolutely would, and I think I would-
But I know that unless I was put into that situation, I could never know for sure.
And it's terrifying.
I can't move on yet.
My thoughts and prayers will be with those in Newtown for a long time, but especially during the next few weeks and the holidays. It's always a time when I miss my dad more than usual, and I know this first one, especially, will be the hardest for them, too.