Writer’s Preface: When you are in a position where things that you write or say can be potentially heard or read by large numbers of people, you sometimes have to just stop and not throw your first reaction out for the world to see.
This was the position I found myself in yesterday when the news broke about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
24 hours after first hearing about this tragedy, I find myself in a place more able to express my feelings.
These words and more will be used over and over again to describe the events that took place on Dec. 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct. But no words will ever truly be able to capture the breadth and width of the immense loss that occurred at the hands of a single angry gunman.
As someone whose daily world revolves around an industry that is primarily considered entertainment, I spend the better part of my days putting a lot of emphasis into things that appear to have some meaning or impact. It’s not until events like yesterday’s occur that I realize how trite and insignificant those things really are.
Nothing in the world of sports can even come close to the deaths of 26 innocent people, 20 of them being beautiful young children.
In the coming days and weeks, there will be a lot of discussion and debate about topics such as gun control laws, religion in schools, and mental health care – all in an attempt to hypothesize not only why these killings occurred, but how they could have been prevented. We will look for backstories and motives, and attempt to point the cold finger of blame while trying to alleviate some of the pain that is felt by us all as a nation.
But all of that is just white noise surrounding a greater problem.
We, as a society, seem to have lost the ability to truly care for one another as human beings, and to respect each other as a people. This, as much as anything, has caused many of the people we live and work with on a daily basis to have some crucial emotion go missing that gives the proper response to the taking or loss of a human life.
We need to get this figured out, and figured out soon. More and more, the young people who could possibly represent our bright future are being snuffed out maliciously and unnecessarily by those who would want to see the world enveloped in darkness and detestation.
We can offer prayers, or thoughts, or donations, or whatever we feel is most appropriate to try to give support to the families whose lives were destroyed by this heinous act, but none of that will change the fact that there is much work to be done on a human level to prevent tragedies like this from happening again – beyond the superficial measures of man-made laws, harsher penalties and religious reform.
When events like these happen, we typically always give the same response. We join hands together, we hold on to our own loved ones a little tighter, and we become one as a nation – but only for fleeting moments, until the realities of the great chasms that we have created in our society hit us headlong once again.
If we, in the United States of America, are unable to show love, respect and kindness to our fellow countrymen, then it’s no wonder that people and groups around the world who thrive on creating division find us such easy prey for their wares.
Maybe just for once, we can take this opportunity to close those gaps before it’s too late, and before more utterly unspeakable acts like the one we saw yesterday in Connecticut happen again.