I don't remember where I was on Friday when I heard. But I remember the heartache and utter devastation I felt... And it wouldn't have mattered if it had only been one child. The fact that someone could enter into such a safe and happy space with such disregard for human life. It's unbelievable.
It's incomprehensible... Teenagers can be jerks... Not that it makes it better but i can begin to see (again, not that it makes it better) how someone could have such hatred for a group of teenagers or college students. But 6 year olds... Children who had barely begun to live. Who had no context for what was happening to them. No instinct to run or hide. It is so much more impossible to understand.
I have heard that it is suspected that this individual had some sort of mental illness. That might be true. But to me it holds no bearing on his accountability or his actions. Do we need to do a Better job in this country with understanding mental illness? Surely. But using that to excuse his actions, or make allowances is unacceptable.
In the wake of this tragedy I have also heard an awakening of arguments for more gun control... In some ways I have extremely mixed emotions in this area. I was raised by a man who's hobby is to collect firearms. He has some incredible peices. It is something that he enjoys. We grew up target shooting and by the time I was 8 I was a pretty good shot. I married a man who is a hunter. He has great respect for the animals he hunts and we eat everything that he kills. Our firearms are locked. And the ammunition is locked in a separate area. We strive to be responsible gun owners.
Historically, disarming a people has led to their downfall... It also has been shown To cause an increase in crimes committed with firearms. Because guess what? Criminals will still get their hands on them. And if you think that those columbine kids (who were using legally obtained firearms) wouldn't have gotten their hands on guns anyway, you are crazy. And should guns be unavailable somehow... Any idiot can go online and make a pipe bomb... The weapon is not the problem.
Does this mean I think everyday-joe-schmo needs a military grade automatic weapon? No... I don't. But I don't know how to accomplish that without starting down a slippery slope.
I refuse to let tragedy make me afraid. I sent my son to school today without fear. I know that he is as safe there as he will be anywhere else. And I know that each day, I send him into the world armed with my love and the knowledge that God loves him. I pray that he will be protected and should anything happen to him I would be devastated. But I hope it would not destroy my belief in the innate goodness of people or our basic rights...we can not let fear dictate our choices or we might just make devastating decisions that can not be reversed...
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those children and heroic teachers... The first responders who had to witness that horror... And most especially our nation...