On a normal Friday of a normal December, a bunch of families said goodbye to their kids and sent them off to school. Announcements. Meetings for the Principal. A normal Friday.
Then the abnormal sound of gunfire. Of violence. Of death.
And now, the sound of tears, of sadness, of remembering and loss… of fears and nightmares past and future.
I keep imagining what it must be like for the parents of the victims today, especially of the young children. I imagine myself in their shoes, I imagine walking by a now-always-empty room with bright paint evoking happier times.
My thoughts are with the families affected by the tragedy.
When I walk into my son’s class, the kids say “Hi Che’s Dad!” They make me smile no matter how crappy my morning has been. I keep thinking about what someone must go through to walk into a classroom full of children and open fire. Why would anyone want to hurt them?
It’s unfathomable. The loss is unfathomable. The chance and the randomness is most unfathomable of all.
I wrote this earlier today re: discussing gun control policy on the day of a tragedy (slightly edited for grammar):
My only point is that today should be about the tragedy itself, to burn in the news and to cope with the loss & fear of loss that these events bring up.
We get wrapped up in hammering the stats, the policy ideas, and how “stupid” the other side is on this debates today, but the real work is how we keep this in the public eye going forward.
I’m also seeing things like this at TPM that ask good questions. This is the nitty gritty of how we help prevent these sorts of tragedies in the future. Even on the mental care front, how would those laws work?
I’m just incredibly sad & angry about this, and I’m not ready to have those conversations today. That’s all I’m saying.
The response I got from people on Twitter & elsewhere primarily centered on getting people talking about the issues at play while attention is fully on the tragedy. They argue that tomorrow the pain will be a little less for those of us not directly affected. In a month the national media will forget about this completely.
There’s probably a lot of truth to that… the second, little tragedy that goes along with the big, evil tragedy that happened in Newtown.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
So, it seems our job is to keep us from forgetting this bit of our past, to keep it squarely in focus during the next Congress and the next legislative session here in CT and beyond. Take a moment and ask yourself, “What am I doing for the victims of Newtown?”
If you’re upset about this, and want the government to do something about this, learn what you can about the issues at play. What ideas do people have for reducing gun violence? What should we ask our representatives in government to do? Is gun violence reduction about more than guns? Do we need to rethink mental health policies in this country?
As you do learn about these things, contact your representatives in your state legislature, Congress, and anyone else you think is in a position to advocate for better policies. Tell them what you’re learning, ask them to look into the best ideas you find.
There’s always a risk that bad laws get rushed through in the wake of tragedies. This one will be no different, so it’s up to all of us to become smarter about the dynamics at play here and what public policy options people have considered. We need to do something. Let’s make sure that something lives up to the memories of those lost today.