When I sat down at my computer this morning, I had every intention of sharing another bit of wedding fun with those who follow my blog. But, as it has been all weekend and after the tragic events of this past Friday, December, 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut,my thoughts, perhaps selfishly, turn to my beautiful granddaughter, Presley.
Presley turned 5-years old in October and will start school next year. She lives about 2-1/2 hours west of Kansas City with her mom and dad. It’s been difficult not to be able to hug her this weekend. And, as the television stations have begun to show the photos of the young children who were so innocent and not deserving to have their lives ended so soon and so senselessly, I can’t help but see Presley’s face in each and every one of those photos.
While watching the detail of events unfold from Newton on cable news, my wife, Debbie, and I have been forced to imagine how we would feel if Presley had been among the casualties. It is a sickening feeling that defies description, one that we know would so dramatically change our lives that the world would never be the same. No amount of imagination, however, can come anywhere close to the reality or magnitude of pain and sorrow the parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and neighbors of the twenty, 6 & 7-year old children who were shot and killed are feeling today. What happened at the Shady Nook Elementary School is beyond comprehension and begs the question of what can be done to stop these random, horrendous and unpredictable acts of gun violence committed by individuals who clearly have issues that defy logic or humanity?
I think of my neighbor, Cindy, an elementary school teacher who will probably be struggling for answers to the questions her young students will ask today. Are they safe? Will what happened in Newtown happen to them? Why did that man have to kill all of those children? What did they ever do to him?
I’ve made it a point never to express political views on my blog or other social media sites. I’ve kept them private for fear of offending a segment of followers. Besides, unlike so many who love to pontificate their views on a regular basis, I will admit that I am not the most politically savvy nor do I have all of the answers. As I can only assume it will be with Cindy’s students today, the events of Friday have actually made me ask more questions.
Can the loss of life be directly tied to a lack of greater gun control? Are the mentally disturbed getting the proper attention and care? Have we become so accustom to the violence depicted in certain video games, movies and music that we are incapable of understanding the dangerous effect they can have on unstable segments of our society? Have we become so wrapped up in our own petty problems that we are not paying close enough attention to the subtle warning signs or erratic behavior from friends and family we pride ourselves on knowing all so well?
Today is a day to realize and remember that there are far more important things in life than wedding planning hassles, our petty problems and minor discomforts. It is a time to look out the window and celebrate the innocence of the kids who play outdoors in our neighborhoods, to smile at a child we pass in the mall while doing our holiday shopping, to embrace our young siblings, nieces & nephews, cousins and grandchildren and remind them how much we love them and how important they are to us. It is a day to grieve the loss of 20 children, their 6 teachers and school administrators and to reach out to the parents and the community of Newtown with our prayers of sympathy. It is a day to step back and not only ask ourselves what we can do to prevent such a tragedy from happening again, but to take whatever action necessary to assure it never happens again.
Debbie and I are so fortunate to have such an adorable granddaughter. Presley will probably not know what happened for several years. It’s just as well. She wouldn’t understand anyway and there’s no reason to allow one man to destroy the innocence of one more child regardless of who they are.
Our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy go to the people of Newton, Connecticut.