I think it was one of my worst moments of parenting. I had to answer to a set of big brown eight year old eyes about the Sandy
Hook school tragedy. I tried to follow what I read was the appropriate response, affirming their safety, while giving a young grade school child simple facts. Yet there are some things that should go unseen and unheard of by an eight year-old. More and more these mass killings are becoming everyday items in the news. There is no reason why this has to be our children and our country’s new normal!
Our children have limited access to all media. I know they cannot be shielded forever from such events, but this is a guarded door at the moment. Our daughter happened to be at a friend’s house when she heard about the tragedy. Yet no doubt, my intellectually curious little girl would have heard about it one way or another. Better the facts from Mom and Dad, but I cannot help but wish better not at all. Perhaps she should not have been at a friend’s house that night. Perhaps that is naïve.
For many, there are the obvious social, cultural, political, and moral implications of these events; the shooting that proceeded it days earlier in Oregon; and all the mass shootings in recent years. It is disgusting to me that we have to form federal commissions to analyze and react to these occurrences, for this just speaks to the volume of events. Rural, suburban, small town, large city, no one is immune from these occurrences. While the Mother bear in me wants to shield, protect, and draw our children closer to the nest, the realist knows that you can never fully do this today. I know that we have a personal set of moral, political, and social values we are transmitting to our children. But nothing is a full proof shield for a victim.
No doubt, a wide range of forces have spurred every shooter to harm, maim, and kill others. We have an individual and collective responsibility in this country to examine our lives, our communities, and our country to prevent further tragedy. It is simply irresponsible not to act and ignore these occurrences, now and whenever they occur….