I saw a post in my FB news feed this morning. School shooting in CT.
“Not again,” I thought.
Scroll to the next post. School shooting in CT.
And the next. School shooting.
It wasn’t until my entire newsfeed was nothing but prayers and outrage that I finally turned on the news. Twenty-something dead. Most of them children. A 20 year old man opened fire on CHILDREN in an ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! For fuck’s sake. Just like any story on the news of a child being harmed, outrage oozed from my pores. I told my husband. Even more outrage from him.
“That fucking coward. Fucking nut job. Who the fuck does that?” (We swear a lot when we’re angry.) Part of me was glad he was already dead but another part of me wanted him to be publicly tortured to death. It’s not fair that someone so evil should die so quickly and relatively painlessly.
Then the sadness set in as I imagined myself as one of those 20 sets of parents receiving the news today that their precious son or daughter would not be coming home. Not tonight. Not ever. And I bawled when President Obama delivered his comments and visibly choked up at his own words.
But then I quickly got angry again as the debate for gun control started happening on Twitter and Facebook. Some people, and even the White House, said today is not a day to debate gun control. Others said it’s the perfect time, before another innocent life is lost as we just idly sit by and watch. I see both sides and I agree with both statements.
Then there were the people who just kept on posting about their day as if nothing happened. And the people that criticized them for doing so. Once again, I see both sides. For some people, the only way to cope is to keep going about their daily life. For others, it’s insensitive to do so. What happened today should not be ignored, but nor should it be a reason to ridicule someone for how they cope with national tragedy.
I just read this post from one of my favorite bloggers.
The ones that really got me thinking were the posts about how to talk (or not to talk) to your kids about things like this.
My child is only 6 mos old, but after just a few minutes of watching CNN today, I made the decision to switch to a Charlie Brown Christmas or some other cartoon and stay up to date on the news via mobile Internet and social media. I will probably take this course of action any time there’s a horrible tragedy like this. I wish I could shelter him forever so he never has images of children being shot, like I do right now.
But I know that’s not possible. And one day, not so many years from now, I won’t be able to keep the news from him and I’d rather he hear about certain things from me rather than friends or strangers, the news, social media or pretty much anyone else. I want to be there to comfort him and to answer any questions. (As best I can, anyway. Because the only question running through my mind right now about CT is “WHY?” and I don’t have an answer. No one does. Pure fucking evil, man. Pure fucking evil.)
So today I’ve just been paralyzed. Wavering between anger and overwhelming sadness. But the worst part of it all, for me? Is the feeling of helplessness. I just feel so damn worthless and vulnerable. Why couldn’t I stop that guy? Why couldn’t anyone? And that’s when the thoughts about gun control and mental healthcare and safer schools all comes up because we feel like we need to come together as a community and DO something. Just fucking do something already. We want to believe that this sort of thing is preventable. That with enough laws and regulations and evaluations, we can keep this from happening ever again.
And maybe we can.
But maybe we can’t.
And this is all very heavy shit and much bigger than me which brings me right back to feeling helpless again.
But here’s what I can do. I can say a prayer for all of those innocent lives and families that were destroyed today. And I can promise to raise my own son with love, compassion, understanding and once again, love. I can educate myself on depression and mental illness and look for warning signs should he ever stray down that dark and evil path. So while I can’t control what horrible things might happen to him, I can at least do my very best to make sure he knows love, and that he never does horrible things to anyone else. And maybe that is all any of us, as parents, should hope to do.