Ever since Friday night I’ve seen dozens of blogs being written about the incomprehensible tragedy that occurred in Newtown, CT. As the Safety Mom, I felt that I should write something but, until now, words have escaped me. There are no safety tips to give kids. And this time, I was at a loss as to how to even discuss this with kids. The Newtown tragedy was personal to me. I live 10 miles from there. The teachers at my children’s schools have families there. What can you really say in the face of such a purely evil act?
Last week, a teacher at my 10 year old daughter’s school was murdered by her husband – 4 gunshots to the chest. Now this. In writing this, one would think I live in an area of the country where gangs run rampant or another country where kids go to sleep scared for their lives because of military action. No, I live in a quiet, peaceful and affluent area of the country. When I spoke to my daughter two weeks ago about the teacher being murdered I assured her that something like that, while tragic, is completely rare and she most likely wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with such a terrible thing again. Then Friday happened. How do you go back to a 10 year-old and tell her something far worse has just occurred in the neighboring town? My words that an incident like this is rare ring hollow even to me. Is it rare? A mass shooting occurred in a Portland Mall just a few weeks prior. How do I make her feel safe when, deep down, I don’t?
When I did talk to her she asked the right question “Was the school on lock down and if so how did the gunman get in?” How do I say that, in the face of assault rifles, merely locking a door in a school and hiding in your classroom make little difference? The teachers, both those that survived and those that perished, are heroes that will be remembered for years to come. God bless them for their bravery and their courage to care for the children when they must have been scared beyond belief.
So here’s the first point of this blog. Assault weapons have no business being in the hands of anyone!! Yes, tougher gun control laws would prevent mass tragedies such as this. For anyone who argues that they need a gun to protect themselves in their own home, I would ask them to consider if they are quick enough and skilled enough to grab it and insure that a crazy intruder wouldn’t shoot them first. I would also ask them to consider if the possibility of a break-in in their home is really a greater concern than worrying if their child will come home alive from school or the mall or a move theater one day?
Almost every parent is thinking of the parents in Newtown. Those who are thanking God that their child was spared and is alive also realize their innocence has been lost forever. But many people’s thoughts go to the parents who woke up Saturday morning and will never hug their child again. The pain is incomprehensible. I know, as it happened to me. Not in such a violent way but my baby’s death to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome was agonizing to me. I recall what my mother said that next day. When you’re too angry and too sad to pray for yourself, that’s when other people’s prayers are needed. This weekend I explained to my daughter that we don’t know why terrible things happen and there will be days where many of those affected by the Newtown tragedy question where God was that day. Sadly, bad things do happen in this world but communities come together to grieve and to support and this does help to heal. It comes in time. For many in Newtown, their faith is what will allow them to someday find peace.
This time, I don’t have words as The Safety Mom – I only have words as a mom who lives too close to Newtown.