Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I Couldn't Sleep

I honestly could not sleep last night.

My gigantic, solid wood, California King bed, was too vast for the emotions that kept me tossing and turning through the wee hours of silence and supposed rest.

Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut is embedded in my heart, stitched in the sinews are the faces of the tiny ones who stared into the eyes of horror as their minuscule bodies were riddled with firepower too destructive for comprehension.

I only have one friend who grew up in Connecticut.  I really do not know much about the state, I've never visited.  But it is now in my life and can never be erased.

Babies, these were babies, the women were in a profession I deeply honor, for what?

The whys of what happened swirl around as the first of the young victims was laid to rest on Monday, in his Jewish tradition, three days after his death.  There was public mourning and a visibly shaken President who reached into his soul for the comfort of his own faith as he uttered words of scripture to the families assembled at a Methodist church, seeking, searching, and at times, screaming, when the names of each one was solemnly uttered.

I am a mother, thirty years so, and while I know the pain and anguish of the unexpected, tragic, and sudden shock of someone so young being killed, I can not imagine the confusion the mothers of the first graders are enduring.

Why?

We have no reasons, even as the journalists have scrambled for answers, getting the information wrong in the early reporting, still scrambling to understand the impossible to comprehend.

In the middle of my restless sleep, I turned on facebook and there was a post by my middle son.  He talked about the evil that held the guns and his emotions about his little sisters, both in elementary school in an idyllic community that supports the children.  He mentioned the guns not being the issue, and in some ways he is right and in many ways he is wrong.  He and I had just had a discussion earlier yesterday about guns and the rest of life.  My son is one of those trained to carry - he is a United States Navy Veteran - one of those well regulated militia members that the Second Amendment protects.

But the young man who destroyed the lives of so many and innocence of others was not one of those trained military veterans.  He was a deeply disturbed young man who took out his vengeance and confusion about life on the most innocent he could find, he was a bully.

I turned over and finally just got up at 5am, refusing today to turn on the news, like Morgan Freeman said, just turn it off.  I didn't want to give the next sicko a ratings boost to go and do something horrible with even more horrible weaponry.

My husband and I took our oldest daughter to her early morning violin lesson and on the drive to his midtown university, listened to our youngest daughter recite her spelling words.  Without saying it, I think we each felt how enormously normal this activity is and how this simply pleasure will not happen again for many parents on this Tuesday morning.

I don't have the answers to why.

But I do know that we will go on, this time differently, this time demanding, this time determined that it will never happen again.

I, like others, have demanded that there be a ban on assault weapons and gun control.  I am not advocating against the sportsmen and gamesmen, or heck, even the small caliber pistols for protection, but NO ONE needs a semi-automatic weapon with enough firepower to wipe out an entire town - or elementary school.  I believe the gunman was not going to stop at the one first grade class, his evil intent was the entire school, based on the amount of weaponry he carried in with him.  NO ONE needs that kind of firepower to be protected with second amendment rights.

My interrupted sleep also had me reading some of the articles and posts ranging from the wacko church who plans to protest the funerals to the deafening silence of the pro-gun lawmakers and the NRA who couldn't even muster the decency to offer public condolences to my surprise that even wally world and the big box sporting good store are pulling sales of the Burmeister assault rifle.

I am not sure what the days ahead will bring or even if the news rush for ratings will move away from the painful and simply report the fluff of after holiday sales, or keep the push for control and answers.

There will be a tomorrow and another mass shooting, as President Obama said, four that he has gone to, if we do not have the collective discussion of how this happened.  And, frankly, as one writer opined - perhaps a profiling of young white males who committed these atrocities - so they can get the help they need before the body public pays the price for their confusion.

As more of the babies are buried and the shock turns from confusion and grief to anger and action, I hope that the collective we will remember all of this and have an honest conversation of how we can change, we must.


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