Massacre at Sandy Hook

This has been hashed over enough, and will continue to be, but even if no one reads this, I need to share my grief. I’ve been so upset since Friday that I haven’t been able to do much other than cry. I watch the news (too much) and cry more tears…and more tears…

The situation would have upset me regardless, but it was all the more upsetting because I heard the horrific news just after I had returned home from my five-year-old granddaughter’s award ceremony at her school. My daughter and I watched the many kids, primary to grade four, file into the gymnasium. I remember thinking how wide-eyed and innocent they were, how cute and adorable, how I wanted to go up and hug each one.

None of the children, including my granddaughter Taylor, knew they were about to receive awards. It was a new program at the school: rewarding groups of children in several areas, like math, reading, art, gym, etc. There will be two or three more similar award ceremonies before the school year is finished, and those kids not receiving an award at that ceremony will receive one at one of the others. I figure it’s a program designed to help instill self-esteem in young children.

The students sat on the floor at the front of the gymnasium, while parents and other adults sat in chairs at the back or along the side; the overflow stood. The principal announced how pleased he was to see the couple of hundred parents before him, when he expected to see perhaps thirty or so. As young children do, they fidgeted or sometimes spoke among themselves. I couldn’t hear any chitter chatter, but at times a teacher or the principal would admonish them to remember their manners. It was amazing to watch the excited children when they heard their names and walked to the front of the room to receive ribbons.

Jessica and I approached Taylor after the hour-long ceremony, and the look of surprise on her face when she saw us was priceless. She ran over to give us hugs and show off her blue ribbon for her award in art.

Then, not much later, when I heard the horrific news of Sandy Hook School, all I could picture was the gymnasium of children I had just left.

I can’t get this horror out of my head.

I picture those little innocent first graders. I see the fear in their eyes, the ones who knew what was happening, and hope it happened so fast that most of them didn’t know what was about to take place. Yet, I know there are those who did see, if even for a few horrific seconds, not to mention the other students in the school who heard and saw things children their age should never experience.

I heard about the brave principal and the teachers, especially one teacher who hid her students in the closets and bathroom, then waited in her classroom to be shot by the gunman. Surely she knew her fate. Yet, she saved all those children. How brave was that? I know for a fact I could never be that brave, and I hate myself for it. Yet, who knows what one would do when faced with such a situation. (Today, reports are surfacing about the inaccuracies of these and other details.)

I feel sorry for the family and the mother of the gunman, too. Most of us parents do the best we can with our children. I don’t think there’s any parent in the world who would want their child to turn into a monster murderer. I wish the media hadn’t rushed to judgment so quickly as to the gunman’s supposed mental illness, but had waited until the facts were in. All the supposition re autism and Asperger’s bothers me and, I’m sure, others.

People are lambasting the media for interviewing children from that school. I thought it was wrong, too, but the parents of these children were right there on the TV with them. Blame the parents, not the media. The media will interview anyone who agrees to be interviewed. Surely the children have enough to contend with without reporters asking stupid questions. Some of those children will never heal from this, and for those that do, the road will be long, and I pray for them.

Even though, of course, I’ve never met any of the families who suffered loss, and never will, I grieve alongside them, even though I can’t fathom their immense pain. I know there are deaths in foreign countries every day and I know I should feel more remorse for those victims, too. I do, but in a different way. They’re so far away, so far removed from me and my home, and they fight over things I have no control over nor even understand most times. Even though I don’t understand this latest killing, Connecticut is too close to home. I hate to say this, but after that prior shooting at the mall, I knew there was going to be another. I just didn’t think it would be this soon. Or this horrific.

Why are common citizens allowed guns? It doesn’t make sense to me. Then again, there are a lot of things in this world I don’t understand. There are those who say people kill, not guns, and I agree, but if guns weren’t so readily available, perhaps it would take a killer a longer and more difficult time to come up with a different plan, and perhaps by then, circumstances might have changed.

I’m angry. And I’m so sad.

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