I want to start by sending my heartfelt condolences to all of the families who lost loved ones last week in Newton, CT. I do not have the words to express how sorry I am that you are having to live through this.
With that said, I am extremely thankful that my son is only 3, and that we don't watch a lot of broadcast television with him. This weekend was filled with heartbreaking news stories regarding the incident in Newton, Connecticut. I am thankful that I was spared from explaining these events to my child, because my adult brain can barely process them. As a mother, I look forward to my child starting school- to reaching that milestone of knowing they would be well cared for and educated. (My husband and I are supporters of our local school system, it is why we sacrificed to move into the school district we chose.) I cannot begin to comprehend the overwhelming sadness and grief the parents of all of the children who were killed. And the guilt. I am sure they felt they were doing the best thing for their child by sending them to the school they chose, and I am sure many will spend time thinking through all of the "what if's" - if they had just chosen to keep their child home that day, or if they had chosen a different school or different home or chose to home school - the options are endless. I am sure they feel this way because, God forbid I am ever in a similar situation, I would. I would blame myself. To those parents, and the loved ones and parents of the teachers and staff who were also killed I want to say this:
It was not your fault. You did not choose to send your loved one to a war zone. The teachers and staff did not choose to work in a dangerous profession or a dangerous area. You made the best decision you could for your child and family. We live in a broken world, a place where there is mental illness, violence, and guns. A place where sin and ugliness and hate run rampant. We cannot do anything about this, it is a fact. The only thing for me that keeps this from being a crushing revelation is the hope and promise that I have in Christ that this is not the end. This world is not where we end up - that one day all will be made new, and all will be restored. It is this hope that helps me see past what has happened, and not allow an event like this to cripple me from living my life. The song "There Will Be A Day" by Jeremy Camp has been running through my head since I heard the news of this story - for those reading who feel hopeless there is hope. It is just not this side of heaven.
While we cannot change these events, we can change how we react. A very wise man once shared with me "Beth, you cannot change what is happening in this place, you can only change how you react to it" So this is how I am reacting.
I'm angry. Very angry. I'm angry that our news outlets are spending more time focusing on the gunman than the victims. Want to ensure that some other kid with issues who wants attention guns down a school? Make a big deal about another kid who already did it. I haven't been a mother long, but I have learned this lesson already. If there is a behavior in my son I want to eradicate, we don't even acknowledge it, laugh at it, or give it a moment's pause - we ignore it until it disappears. So let's ignore the stories about this kid's past, the speculation of who's and why's. Let's not make him into a victim - let's not even utter his name. So here is my challenge to you - don't read the stories about him. Make it a point to skip those links, and send a message to the media at large that we are tired of hearing about what a "victim" kids like him are. Because if we can all come together to take a stand and make the point that the information shared in those stories doesn't matter, if we can desensationalize stories like this, as a whole we may be able to stop another kid from thinking this is a good idea to get the attention he or she is looking for. Let me be clear, I do not for a moment believe that this will eradicate senseless violence - but it may stop at least one tragedy from occurring.