That’s the central question. Maybe the only one. And maybe the answer is that nothing ever will. If the massacre of twenty little kids and six educators going peacefully about their school day in a quaint New England village wasn’t enough, what hope can we reasonably hold that anybody’s freedom to survive will one day be more important to us than unfettered access to lethal weapons, important enough that we actually stand up and do something about it?
Today we are in mourning not only for the innocent victims of yesterday’s Oregon shooting but for their families and friends. Their world has catapulted into darkness. With time, light may shine again but it will never be the same. A black hole will remain. A pulsating void, expanding and shrinking over and over, but ever present, casting its shadow over every day of their lives.
People ask me how many grandchildren I have and I always want to say “nine.” Because Noah is still my grandchild and I still can’t accept that he is gone. But I never answer “nine” because if questions are asked (where do they all live? how old are they?), then I have to explain and I can’t always. What happened to Noah, to us, can never be the subject of small talk.
So I say “eight” but it feels both like a lie and a betrayal. I don’t want to constantly talk about our loss, or rather it is the only thing I really want to talk about but I can’t. So I don’t. I say “eight” and each time I do, I feel that Noah recedes a little further. Pain is a constant.
Yesterday ten families woke up whole as we did on the morning of December 14, 2012. By night time they had been brutally amputated as we were. I know first-hand how they feel. Why is it that President Obama gets it and Congress doesn’t? What will it take for our elected officials to feel enough of our pain to actually take measures to minimize the possibility of such massacres?
Is compassion a word we no longer understand? A word we no longer teach our kids?
A friend just share this on Facebook: Five things you can do about gun violence. Please read and share. Thank you.