I don’t go to church to find solace because organized religion feels wrong to me. It’s not that I don’t believe in a higher power, I do. And maybe on a different day in a different blog I’ll tell you all about that. That day is not today.
Today I seek solace in my own head; to put words to the reason I haven’t stopped crying since I heard about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The unthinkableness of the crime notwithstanding, I can’t stop thinking about it. It woke me up in the night, or more accurately, it kept me awake once I awoke due to having a bladder the size of a quail egg. Thank you Natalie.
I cry because not every one of us- Every. Single. One. – feels there is a place for finding hope, a person to ask for help, a way to breathe through the desperation, a way. With 300 million people in this country, 7 billion in the world, why this deranged lunatic didn’t have one he could call. Why he slipped through the fabric of our entire society.
Unlike numerous friends and family members who don’t care to hear one word about Adam Lanza, I do. Not being able to see him as a human being makes him the convenient “other”. And that feels like the easy way out. I do not want to know the details of what happened inside that school. I want to know what happened inside that man’s head. How does a life come to that?
I’m not saying any one person, or a hundred, could have prevented this crime. I’m not saying Adam Lanza is any kind of poster child for any ill-conceived political platform. He isn’t. To be very clear: had he lived, I would want him to die for what he did. But his actions, and this situation, have made me question myself and this world in ways I haven’t before.
Given the way that I am feeling, absolutely heartbroken, I am wondering; if I knew a person I thought capable of what happened in Newtown, Connecticut, would I sprint in the other direction? Or would I reach out instead? Would I be quick to label that other a ‘freak’ and hope to hell when s/he broke, the pieces didn’t hit me? Would I tell myself that staying under that person’s radar is the best and safest thing? Because being 6 or 7 years old seems like the safest thing, too. But it isn’t. Not anymore.
What I have heard on the news reports about the heroes inside that school and the ways they behaved during the rampage…they did what –godhelpme- I hope I would do if someone stormed into my classroom with a gun. They showed courage, valor, honor, sacrifice, love.
What I am wondering is whether I could do the same...before the break. Do I, does anyone have any power whatsoever to prevent Sandy Hook? I guess I’m writing to say I hope to hell so, because without hoping, I’m left with utter powerlessness and frankly, despair.
And that is why I can’t stop crying.
Thanks for such a well written piece. We failed Adam Lanza and others like him. We can argue about guns, mental health etc. but in the end it comes down to us. We failed him and in so doing, we are responsible for the deaths of those children.
Such a tragedy, especially since it occurred in an elementary school affects us all collectively and individually. It is so hard to understand the magnitude of anger and hopelessness Adam Lanza must have felt to become so evil. Not that this is an excuse. You raise a good question in wondering why he felt he had no one who could understand. My heart goes out to all the families.
rach :) said:
All we can do is what we can. It is very hard to collect stats on what might have happened had we not smiled at the woman in the grocery store, or asked a student how their weekend went, because nothing reportable happened. But every time any of us do that, we might be making a real difference in someone’s life. We might also be just being nice– who can ever know for sure? Either way, nice matters… and all we can do is what we can.