Watching the events unfold in the news over the past 24 hours has left me raw with emotion. How in the hell can something so evil be happening so often in our schools? Much like the vivid details of the morning of September 11th that is freshly imprinted my brain, in all likelihood, these images won’t soon leave my consciousness.
I have been volunteering in my second grade daughter’s classroom on Fridays since she was in kindergarten. I will never forget the first time the school practiced their monthly lockdown drill. In all honesty, it horrified me. In order to not process the reality, I pushed out into the far recesses of my mind, wiped my tears away and told myself it couldn’t happen here in our town again. Besides, these horrible things don’t happen in elementary schools. Right?
We live about two miles away from Santana High School, in the east San Diego suburbs, where in 2001, one of TWO high school shootings happened in the school district in a period of two weeks. Santana High School will be my daughter’s high school if we continue to live in the same area when she attends high school. Because I lived in San Diego when the shootings happened and later worked for the high school district where the tragedies took place, the memories of those tragic events prominently loom in the back of my mind each time I drive past the school.
This evil is something you never forget. We have chose not to share the tragic news of Newtown, Connecticut with our seven year old. I cannot bear to strip her of her innocence and belief in the power of good over evil. When it comes right down to it, these acts are not accidents—they are carefully orchestrated acts of pure evil. It is something I cannot make sense of and DAMN IT! No one should have to make sense of this madness. It should never, ever happen.
I tried to stay off of Facebook or watch the news for most of the day. For one, my heart could not take the sadness. I could not process the images or synthesize the fact that evil like this happens every damn day. I was angry. I was frustrated. I was downright pissed off that this is the world that our children are inheriting. It is overwhelming to conceive.
The fact that I have the luxury to tune out to what happened is not lost on me. The parents of Newtown, Connecticut cannot change the channel or shut down Facebook. What has been lost can never be recovered. It cannot ever be undone. I recognize all too well that this could have happened in Anytown, USA. It has happened in my town before and I don’t know what safeguards are in place to assure it won’t happen again. No, there is nothing to restore the sense of security. There is a gaping void where security once occupied. Vulnerability and fear occupy the spaces where security once lived.
My heart is breaking for the 20 plus families that left their children at school—a place that should be SAFE, that did not get to tuck their little ones in bed last night. I had the luxury of hugging my family members tight, where others will never be able to wrap their arms around their loved ones again. It breaks my heart at the carnage that has been left behind after this senseless attack. I have been praying since I heard about what happened, because frankly, I don’t know what else I can do, but hold these people in my heart. I cannot imagine the ways in which this tragedy will change lives. I am angry. I am so filled with so many emotions, I cannot even begin to express. It is all so terribly wrong. It isn’t fair.
Various media and Internets almost immediately called for gun control and outright bans on guns, hardly before the news was reverberated—before most of the details have been revealed. I am burned out from the politics of November. The fighting. The Great Facebook Debates. It all sucks. It makes me absolutely disgusted.
Not even 24 hours after this event happens, people are spinning the political rhetoric. BAN ALL GUNS! Blah. How about a few moments of grieving, of embracing each other, of honoring the victims and opening our hearts?
Before we get our proverbial panties in a bunch about gun control, let us have a few moments to wrap our brains around the wicked horror that took place yesterday. What happens if we ban guns and strip ourselves of our Second Amendment rights? How are we going to stop bombs, like what happened in Oklahoma City or even more recently—our US Embassies? Remember the hijackers of 911? They didn’t have guns. They had ordinary box cutters. It’s not only guns we have to worry about. It is knives, box cutters, swords, sticks, stones, cars, clubs, batons, and 500 other benign instruments that can be turned into weapons. We need to think about stopping evil in its tracks and not focus on any one aspect.
I can’t help but think about the recent cleaver, hammer and knife attacks in schools that have harmed or killed young children in China over the past few years or the bombing in Norway that killed 77 people last July.
The Second Amendment was adopted in 1791 and yet this barrage of violence in school is a contemporary problem. Even 50 years ago, kids weren’t bringing guns to school, although the Right to Keep and Bear Arms made its prominence in the 18th century. Is it possible the the prevalence of guns has changed little, but clearly our society has changed enough that such evil exists today? Are we that naive to think that guns and not the people that senselessly attack children are the real problem?
I have to wonder—is banning guns really going to stop evil in its tracks? We see it everyday in our news. Wickedness is everywhere and is not settled on one implement to carry out its destructive and vile acts. It is terrifying. Why is this violence happening? What can we do to change it?
The real question we need to ask is, how are we going to disarm evil?