Saturday, December 15, 2012

Nothing Clever Today

Greetings All:

I have not written for a couple of weeks and was hoping to do a post on something fun or frivolous.  Perhaps talk about the holidays and how we celebrate everything in our house.  Or maybe discuss that for all our mocking of holiday songs, we secretly love them and cannot get enough of them.  Who knows, maybe something else. 

That is not going to happen with this post.  Not only am I not going to write about something fun, I am not even going to attempt to be clever, even by my mediocre standards.  Nope, this is not one of those posts.  Simply put, it is my feeble attempt to get my head around the horrific events of yesterday. 

I learned of it from a news brief on my iPhone, clearly tragic, yet few details.  As the morning gave way to the afternoon, the view came into focus of ugly, terrible clarity.  I woke up this morning and although I do not usually turn on the news (I prefer to start the day with Dwyer & Michaels and only go to the news when they are on commercial) did today.  It is just plain horrible terrible.  I can live to be 100 and will never be convinced that there is an explanation of this act of savagery.  Never.

As for the perpetrator, I reject the term, “shooter.”  That is a tactical term used by those who must respond to a situation in a professional, emotionally detached situation.  (As an aside, profound thanks and gratitude for those who responded to this tragedy.  By all accounts, they were brave, making hard calls and doing all they could to provide protection and comfort.  Their work, unfortunately, is far from over.) 

No, “shooter” is the wrong term for him.  I chose three:  coward, thief, and murderer.  Coward for he chose those victims he was certain could not fight back.  Thief for he stole from these victims’ loved ones their life and the accompanying joy.  As I write this, there are family members writhing in a pain I cannot possibly begin to understand.  Whatever grief we collectively feel and I know it is sincere, it can never come close to the family members of those who fell yesterday.  I will also add that he is a coward for taking his own life and not stand accountable for his crimes.  Finally murderer for what you did by your hand.  You are the very worst of mankind.  I know this is not very Christian of me but I have neither mercy nor pity for you.  Perhaps God found reason to offer him grace yet I hope not.  Instead, I hope that when you, coward/thief/murderer, pulled the trigger for the last time your soul was sent screaming to Hell.  I sincerely hope you will spend eternity being damned along with those who served the Nazi death machine and others of such acts of evil against children. 

I remember a movie from 1990 “The Russia House.”  In it, Sean Connery’s character says in one scene, “All victims are equal.”  I disagree.  These 20 children stand alone.  They had no way to fight back.  They went to school that day, to a place where they had the right to be safe and loved.  For those who were not victims of violence, they are victims of witness to a carnage no one should ever have to see.  Whatever the cost, I do not care.  Raise my taxes to ensure there is adequate counseling and support for these kids.  It is the least we can do.

I have nothing clever to say.  I want to forget the coward/thief/murderer.  I want to honor the memories of the fallen.  I wish there was a way I could carry some of the grief, if only for a little while, of the parents.  Yet even as I write this, I know that is a hollow wish.  Whatever good intentions I may have, they are not realistic.  I will likely never know any of the loved’ ones of the fallen.  I can of course pray for them and I will.  I can also renew my efforts to be a better parent, knowing that I have the most precious of gift.  I will try not to get frustrated with toys left on stairs or clean clothes thrown on the floor.  I get to clean those messes up.  Twenty sets of parents will never get to wash clothes worn by their child again.  My God, it’s hard to breathe when thinking about such a thing.

I want to end on a positive note.  I have been thinking about what that can be that is realistic and meaningful.  I think we are all seeking that now and want to avoid any triviality of this horror.  This is what I have come up with:

As I read the posts of my friends on Facebook I have noticed a sincere sharing of grief.  In addition, I have seen a noble exposure of personal pain of how this has impacted them.  I can see in their words their love for their families and their children.  I am utterly certain that on millions of Facebook walls friends are sharing the same feelings of love, grief, pain and appreciation that their families are safe.  I have seen a validation of our collective humanity.  It’s easier to breathe when I read these posts.

Thank you for reading this and forgive me if some of my comments are angry and small.  Now that I have put them out there, I hope to focus on the good and the positive and pledge to write something positive and soon.  In the meantime, here is a poem that I found I feel is appropriate for this post:

Epitaph on a child
Here, freed from pain, secure from misery, lies
A child, the darling of his parents' eyes:
A gentler lamb n'er sported on the plain,
A fairer flower will never bloom again:
Few were the days allotted to his breath;
Now let him sleep in peace his night of death.

Thomas Gray, poet, classical scholar and Cambridge don (1716 - 1771)

Be well my friends.


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