Monday, December 17, 2012
I’m not a parent, but you don’t have to be in order to feel utterly crushed by what happened at Sandy Hook last week—the loss of twenty bright lights who will never get to become their adult selves. Musicians, maybe. Doctors. Teachers. Innovators. Artists. Twenty lives that never got to see the world through adult eyes. Even the adults in the massacre were painfully young; twenty-seven, I think, is barely enough time to really even take a deep breath.I’m not a fan of guns; if I’m to be honest, I hate guns. I have always respected the right of my more outdoorsy friends to hunt. But I have never fired a gun myself. I hate the look of guns. I literally feel my stomach turn over and goose bumps break out when I have to pass by the guns in Walmart to get to the exercise equipment. I do not understand why, in Missouri, I may soon be unable to buy pseudoephedrine over the counter at that same neighborhood Walmart (in an effort to curb criminal activity), but I can buy a gun. I still respect my outdoorsy friends’ right to hunt. But I also respect the right of all the bright lights in this world to grow big enough to see the world through adult eyes. And I’m sorry, but I think one of those rights trumps the other.
I also can’t ignore the fact that even the perpetrators of mass shootings were once potential bright lights themselves. We really know so little about the mind. And as a society, we are still failing the mentally ill in so many ways, as this heart-wrenching firsthand account explains.The past few days, I’ve caught myself staring at the sparkling Christmas decorations that hang in my neighborhood, getting absolutely lost in thoughts about all the bright lights in the world that need to be protected, honored, allowed to become their very best selves.