It is very much on purpose that I haven’t seen the pictures or video. I’ve kept it to text on the BlackBerry screen. At age 32, it seems I can still become a teenager feeling Columbine too easily from two time zones over. It seems trite or not fair to feel what isn’t immediately my problem. As I sit here with everyone I know accounted for and safe, to grieve people I’ll never know doesn’t seem right. It wasn’t me and mine. Very likely if you’re reading this it wasn’t your and yours. To be sad, to cry, to rage, to pray when I’m not in the immediate seems wrong. I don’t, can’t, won’t feel the sting of what those in Connecticut feel as I move on with my day. To pretend I do is offensive.
But yet, I’ve become an adult where this is reality. It happens in malls now, workplaces and sidewalks. It can be kindergartners or Congresswomen. We’ve somehow came to accept a world where school funding goes for metal detectors and security guards instead of computers and textbooks. We’re alright with a world where health care for all sorts of illness is not a protected right, but gun ownership is. We’ll even give lip service to anti-bullying measures, but still legislate against equal rights with a straight face.
And that’s why I sat down to write this morning. Not because I can burst into tears, not because I’m a person who feels things that aren’t immediately related to me, but as a man who has seen too much.
I find myself feeling less depressed and more angry that this keeps happening. Where were the people in charge when this kind of thing started? Why didn’t they do something? Why are we still not doing anything?
I suppose it would be nice to be able to close out this little post with a call to action or some grandiose idea of how to move forward, but I’ve tried typing that and it just doesn’t work. Maybe it’s too soon for that.
Extrapolate and pontificate all you’d like about the reasons why, societal ills and legislative gridlock that prevents meaningful change from happening, but we have to admit that it’s getting worse instead of better. I’m not going to pretend I’m wise enough to know the answer. But what I do know is that many of us who grew up with school becoming a place of violence now have the power and responsibility to do what wasn’t done for us.
To borrow a phrase from the President, I wonder if we can get and sustain an anger that’s enough to shout down the “carnival barkers” on TV, radio, Facebook feeds and even some of our pulpits? Or will we go back to our lives after this weekend and wait for it to happen again?
I hope not.