on newtown

I wrote on FB Friday: People would apparently rather talk gun control when children are dead and parents are grieving, mere hours after this tragedy occurred. Color me disappointed in you. And yes, I'm being lectury. Too damn bad.

I took some flak for it but I own my words and stand by them. My whole feed was much more anger than sympathy. The bodies weren't even cold yet and people were foregoing words of shock and sympathy for words of anger. It was not only in poor taste, it lacked human kindness and decency. Anger doesn't leave much room for kindness and love, no matter how righteous your opinion is.

I won't enter much into the "debate." I don't have anything to say that hasn't been said more eloquently by others. Instead I choose to keep my concerns and sympathies closer to home.

I talked to my daughter about it. It's been a rough fall here with her and terrible news involving children, what with the Jessica Ridgeway case in our back yard. She's old enough (10) to start to realize what this all means.  She's old enough to internalize the shock and grief. We didn't talk about it much this weekend and she went off to play right after we did on Friday. This morning I told her a few more select details, because she's asked to have details shared with her:

I told her about the heroic teacher who got her students in cabinets and convinced the gunman they were elsewhere. I did not say she was shot, just that the kids were saved. (this focuses on helper-people and hero-people. reassuring to kids according Mr. Rogers, someone who would know)

I told her the kids were first graders.

I told her one of the victims had her name.

And I told her that her school was safe.

She mentioned the locks on all the doors at school and the really thick glass in them. She gave me big tight hugs, more than usual, before heading off today. She asked that I come pick her up instead of leaving her to walk home.

I think these requests were fine. I want her to feel safe and secure. It's the best thing I can do for my own grief and shock: take care of my own. The victims and their families are heavy on my mind and will be in the coming days. I don't feel much anger, just sadness. I can't seem to do both at once like some people can.

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.          --Mr Rogers.

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