This post is dedicated to the memory of the twenty precious children at Sandy Hook Elementary whose lives tragically, unexpectedly, and senselessly were taken from them—as well as from their families and friends—and the six brave women who selflessly gave their lives to save as many children as possible.
Charlotte Bacon, female (6 years old)
Daniel Barden, male (7 years old)
Rachel Davino, female (29 years old)
Olivia Engel, female (6 years old)
Josephine Gay, female (7 years old)
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, female (6 years old)
Dylan Hockley, male (6 years old)
Dawn Hocksprung, female (47 years old)
Madeleine F. Hsu, female (6 years old)
Catherine V. Hubbard, female (6 years old)
Chase Kowalski, male (7 years old)
Jesse Lewis, male (6 years old)
James Mattioli, male (6 years old)
Grace McDonnell female (7 years old)
Anne Marie Murphy, female (52 years old)
Emilie Parker, female (6 years old)
Jack Pinto, male (6 years old)
Noah Pozner, male (6 years old)
Caroline Previdi, female (6 years old)
Jessica Rekos, female (6 years old)
Avielle Richman, female (6 years old)
Lauren Russeau, female (30 years old)
Mary Sherlach, female (56 years old)
Victoria Soto, female (27 years old)
Benjamin Wheeler, male (6 years old)
Allison N. Wyatt, female (6 years old)
I won’t repeat the details of Friday morning’s massacre, as you are likely quite familiar with the news by now. Nor will I present arguments for stricter gun laws (which I in fact support). Rather, I ask you to try to put yourself in the place of those who have lost loved ones. Imagine what it must have been like for the parents of those twenty children—those six to seven year olds—who were shot Friday morning, reports say, at close range and multiple times. It began like any other morning. I’m sure that many were rushing around trying to get their children dressed, fed, and in the car in order to make it school on time. All of us who are parents know how hectic it can be in the morning before school. Perhaps there was an argument over what could or could not be worn that day. Or even if things went relatively smoothly, the opportunity to say all those things that a parent wants to say, that a parent feels every day and multiple times a day when thinking of his or her child—those opportunities are gone, forever gone in a matter of hours. Imagine too hearing the news that a shooting has occurred at your child’s school. You hear the report; you drop everything, rush out of your house, get into your car and drive as fast as you can to the school, hoping that your child has somehow been survived. You wait. You see police officers, neighbors, and other parents, crying, screaming, anxious, numb. Some fortunate parents have been reunited with their children, but you are still waiting. You begin to doubt as the hours go by and your child hasn’t come out. Then finally along with twenty other parents, you are told that your child didn’t make it.
As a parent, I simply cannot imagine the pain, the loss, the anger, the despair that these parents are experiencing and will experience in the days, months, and years to come.
Public officials, such as Jay Carney, claim that now is not the time to talk about gun control. No, Mr. Carney, I disagree. Would it be time to talk if one of the victims had been your child, your mother, your wife? As Alex Koppleman at the New Yorker writes, “Carney’s response was a predictable one. This is the way that we deal with such incidents in the U.S.—we acknowledge them; we are briefly shocked by them; then we term it impolite to discuss their implications, and to argue about them. At some point, we will have to stop putting it off, stop pretending that doing so is the proper, respectful thing. It’s not either. It’s cowardice.” Where are the public officials who are willing to take the hit, put the platitudes and promises aside and follow through with new, more restrictive legislation?
As a Christian, I am praying and will continue to pray for the families who have lost loved ones. But I will also act in other ways (even if they seem infinitely small), and I encourage you to do so as well. The time to talk about gun control and our culture of violence is now. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to call your elected officials, congresspersons, representatives. Now is the time to protest, to petition (or here), to speak out against our lax gun laws, policies, and protocols that make it so easy to obtain weapons completely unnecessary for civilian life. How many more lives must be lost before we enact change? How many children must perish? How many parents must pick up the pieces of their shattered lives after having lost their children? What will it take to change our hearts and minds about the needless, rampant gun violence in our country? Will it taking losing your children or mine? Are not these children and these children and these children our children, our brothers, our sisters? Awaken us, Lord, to Rachel’s weeping; take away our deafness and make us hear her wailing. Then move us to action so that concrete steps might be taken and legislation passed to end or at least drastically reduce this violence.
“Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more”