I have known of no one who has ever heard of Sandy Hook, Connecticut, outside of my family, of course. I know about it because my sister lives there. She and her husband raised their children there. Their son and his wife raise their children there as well. I have been to Sandy Hook many times. Sandy Hook is a pretty little New England village in the town of Newtown. No one should ever need to know of it. Now everyone has heard of it.
My dear little great niece wasn't in school on Friday. She was home sick. Otherwise she would have been at school. Do I thank God for that? I don't thank or blame God for anything. God to me is nothing more than an expression that has lost meaning. Yet I struggle to express on one hand, incredible relief and on the other, wrenching heartbreak for the parents of these children. Yes, I with my family are so relieved she is not hurt. I am, as is my family, heartbroken for other parents. That is reality.
I don't know personally anyone there outside of my family. My family will know them. They will know the parents and grandparents. They will know spouses and family members of the adults who were killed. They will know the children. As the names are made public they will know them and know friends who know them and they will do what they can to provide comfort, to cry, to express rage, all of it. The pain is and will be excruciating for a long, long, time.
Long after the news cycle has moved on to other tragedies, this community and my family will find the broken shards of their lives and put them together with courage, compassion, and sheer determination. They will create new lives and survive this. They won't get over this but they will live through it and with it.
I am so, so sorry Sandy Hook. I am heartbroken.
I am also angry.
I am angry at the shooter. Angry at the world, fella? If you won't get help then have the decency just to kill yourself, OK? I am angry that he slipped through whatever societal safeguards are supposed to be in place to help people like him. I am angry that he didn't get whatever it was he needed so he wouldn't hurt others. I am angry regarding the stigma and the ignorance surrounding mental illness. I am angry that we don't have a more descriptive phrase than "mental illness" for whatever it was that motivated him to do this. We might as well say "demons."
I am angry that people "possessed by demons" can get access to assault weapons! I am angry at the crazy gun culture in which we live. I
am angry that we let weapons of mass destruction be so available and do
nothing but wring our hands when 20 children are murdered in an elementary school. I am angry
that these killing tools are being manufactured in the first place. I
am angry that it is easier and cheaper to get an offensive military style
weapon than it is to get mental health care. I am angry at the people who profit from these killing machines and who spread lies, misinformation, and a warped sense of freedom that it is a "right" to own these children killers.
I am heartbroken. I am angry. Mostly I am afraid. I am afraid that our culture has taken a path of no return toward a societal death wish. We have decided that it is more important to protect our right to own weapons of mass murder than it is to protect children from them. For that, I weep.