By now everybody has heard about the horrible school shooting that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, on Friday, December 14th. We’ve seen the news, we’ve seen the faces of the little babies and the courageous teachers who were killed in the senseless slaughter. We’ve argued for and against gun control. We watched President Obama say the names of every single individual killed that day.
I’ve seen many school shootings in my 29 years. Jonesboro, Columbine, Virginia Tech, to name a few…all of them lodged in my memory. But there has never been one so close to home as Sandy Hook. Here in Connecticut, my home state, children were walked to their school doors today, accompanied by their parents, to greet an armed officer of the law at the door. The sky is gray, it’s rainy, there’s a chill in the air that cuts right to the bone. It’s fitting. None of us seem to know where to go, what to think, what to say or do. We talk about this senseless tragedy, and we don’t even know what to say. How do you respond to something like this? The meaningless murder of 20 babies, of six brave adults…how do you make sense of that? You can’t. It’s impossible.
What makes me more sad is that, for a few days, social media becomes insane, people point fingers, these babies are held up as political statements — for gun control, for the reinstatement of religion in our classrooms — and everyone wants to find out as much as they can about the killer, and why. The Westboro Baptist Cult of Hate is coming up here (to my state) to picket the funerals of these innocent little babies and the brave souls who tried to save them. Everything is chaos. Everyone is hurting. And it’s eight days until Christmas.
The only thing I want to say to everyone is…love each other. Just love each other. And if you can’t love someone, do the best you can to not hate them. The greatest thing in this world, the greatest power on earth, is love. Because if you love someone, everyone, then you can’t bring yourself to hurt them. I realize that it is a pipe dream, this idea that everyone can love everyone else.
But it’s a beautiful dream, isn’t it? It would be an equally beautiful reality. And if dreaming means that we can somehow stave off the anger, violence, hatred, death, and loss that we experienced in Connecticut this week…if we can bring about an age when we don’t have another Jonesboro, another Columbine, another Virginia Tech or Sandy Hook…if there’s any chance that we can make those beautiful dreams a reality, I’m in.