It takes me a while to process things like the Newtown shooting. I have to work through a few days until the shock has dissipated a bit, I need to hear what people are saying and how they are reacting. Then I can feel the words forming out of the thoughts knocking around in my brain.
I heard the news on social media. With the first few posts of sadness and outrage, I could feel my blood turning cold. I hesitated for a few minutes before clicking over to the New York Times, because I didn’t want to face what I’d find there just yet. And then, like everyone else, I was horrified by the details.
I followed spottily throughout the day, allowing myself long breaks away from social media and the news when I felt overwhelmed. I was surprised by many peoples’ immediate cries for stricter gun control laws. I just don’t know how I feel about this. Maybe guns aren’t the big problem.
What is really bothering me is how someone can be so filled with rage and hate and hopelessness that they could act on what is the most horrific thing you can imagine doing. Why could he not just kill himself and be done with it? What does it satisfy in people like him to take out a whole bunch of other people at the same time?
I kept Fen home from school today because she is sneezing and coughing disgusting germs all over the place. After I called her in, my mind conjured up ironic stories of people whose lives were spared when they happened to not be in Twin Towers when they normally would have on September 11. What if today there was a copy cat shooting at my daughter’s school and she is safe at home with me?
What if that teenage boy at the grocery store abducts Beckett- or just hits him as he walks past? Beckett isn’t within my immediate reach-he’s 6 feet to my left, gazing at the Cocoa Puffs. He’s vulnerable and unsafe.
I feel vulnerable and unsafe. The thoughts build and grow and spread, and I wonder if some horrible tragedy will befall us. As I drive home with Fen’s requested ice cream, I wonder if our car will be hit, or if someone has broken in and stolen her away during her half hour alone at home.
Our rage and sadness as parents mirrors the feeling that boy must have been feeling, even if it is on a much saner level. Perhaps this is what he wanted- for us to identify with and share in his suffering.
So we are. And our sense of safety is unravelled a little more, and we want to know who or what to blame it on.
I just want to know if we are growing a bunch of unhappy, stressed out kids, who turn into weary, anxious adults. Maybe we’re doing everything wrong and we can’t step back to see it clearly. And it’s all going too fast to even stop it.
In my heart I don’t feel this is the case, but then when something like this happens, it’s easy to freak out and feel like the world is ending. It’s hard to try to get back to normal and remember that not everyone you encounter in the grocery store is evil. In fact, the overwhelming majority aren’t. And it is horrible and terrible and mind-numbingly tragic what has happened. And now we will move on with our lives. And we have to give our kids space and freedom even if we want to strap them to us underneath bulletproof armor.
My thoughts are still jumbled and I can’t wrap my mind around this. I know I’m not making a ton of sense, and I’m certainly not making any sort of argument for or against anything, but there you have it- a little of what I’ve been thinking about since Friday. Besides trying to mentally send love and peace to all of the people in Newtown who are trying to endure this moment in time.