“I’m from Newtown and I have something to say to the world.”

Via on Dec 15, 2012

Source: google.com via Kate on Pinterest

This has hit me harder than other violent tragedies. It hit me harder because it’s near my home.

I was doing some fact checking for an article, when something on Reddit caught my eye. It was the thing that in all of the brewing conversations about gun control and mental illness, I had started to forget. I feel like I’m still scrambling around, trying to do something, anything that might help.

When things like this happen in someone else’s town, we want to have some sense of control. We have all sorts of ideas about how to “fix” things. We try to do something. We want to stop feeling powerless. But when it’s our own town, it’s a little different.

To the Newtown boy who wrote this, thank you. We all need this reminder. We all need to remember that we aren’t talking about numbers and statistics. We aren’t talking about political theories. We aren’t talking about legislation.

We are talking about someone’s neighbor, someone’s mother, someone’s child.

We are talking about people.

 

Via Reddit:

 

“I don’t care about karma, that’s why I made this throwaway.

I was raised in newtown from aged 8 until my graduation from N.H.S. I walked the hallways of Sandy Hook Elementary school and have nothing but positive memories of the place. I remember Mrs. Chard in the library, always smiling and never having a bad thing to say about us. I remember when, in 4th grade, the teachers decided to let us have a bit of fun during lunch and they brought in a karaoke machine for anyone to use. I remember seeing the same sign you’ve seen on tv every morning before I entered a school full of love, happiness and innocence. Like you, I always considered my hometown a bit special, a bit above the violence and carelessness of the world; a safe haven for my development into the young man I am today.

I was torn apart, as was the rest of the world, when I awoke Friday morning to the news. My best friends mother was freaking out, I knew I had to be with them, and I stayed with them all day.Bit by bit our neighbors and friends chimed in, letting us know their children were safe. Some stayed quiet, and we knew why.

We all gathered, at Saint Rose to mourn the death of children so young, and the teachers who saved them. If you can imagine what it’s like mourning the death of the little neighbor you used to babysit, or the kids you watched hop up on the bus every morning, you can understand that it’s a solitary moment. As a community we gathered, forgoing the feuds (and trust me, we’re human, we aren’t perfect to one another at all times in this town, just like in yours) all the bitterness and anger, and we came together in love.

You can comprehend my anger at hearing cameras go off as I watched my best friends father break down. You can relate you wanting some alone time to be able to talk about how to get over this as a community without the intrusion of public opinion, reporters, and all the like. To the reporters hoping to get a Pulitzer prize for their efforts yesterday I ask: Is your soul worth it?

Are you happy, 24 hours news media? You’ve got what you wanted, right? You’ve got something to talk about for days, and every December 14th you can remind us of a day that will haunt Newtown until the earth shatters into the emptiness of space (although for us that happened yesterday). Now you can have 25 pieces of fodder to discuss mental illness, gun control, safety regulations, and what ever else you need. You have a list of 20 children and 5 heroes and you can call up every one of their names, hardcore atheists and Christians, when trying to convert people. Wonderful!

Come on, let’s keep talking about Adam, a kid who I went to school with. Let’s give more psychopaths a folk hero to rally to when this happens again in another state. Good job media, people who can’t shut down their opinions for 5 fucking seconds, and camera man looking for prizes. Don’t patronize us, you don’t care about the deaths, you just want ratings. And everyone will keep watching. As if you deserve to toss out your opinions.

I’m glad we can become another Columbine, (to you residents there, I never understood until now, and we are in a morbid club, inexplicably intertwined by violence) another cold useless fact. You can do all of this and be happy, because you wanted it.

For the record, no one in Newtown was talking about gun control laws, mental health issues, or anything. We were just holding each other, trying to make sense of the senseless. We are ok with you grieving with us, but put down the camera and help us try to piece back together our lives. We need that more than media coverage of this sad day in our history.

I’m putting this is /r politics because I have no idea where to put it. You can repost it I don’t know where it goes and it doesn’t matter. Thanks for reading.

Before anyone begins to question my Newtown-ness: (photo of Newtown, Connecticut driver’s license).”

 

Before we say anything else about Friday’s events, let’s think how we would feel if it were our town, our neighbors, our friends.

This is a time to come together.

If we want to help, we can donate blood. We can pray or meditate or just hold love in our hearts for those families. We can be kind to each other. We can talk about it—respectfully—the way we would want people to talk about it if it was our town.

 

About Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is the strongest girl in the world. She is the love child of a pirate and a roller derby queen. She hails from the second star to the right. Her love of words is boundless, but she knows that many of life’s best moments are completely untranslatable. When she is not writing, you may find her practicing yoga, devouring a book, playing with her children, planting dandelions, or dancing barefoot with her heart on her sleeve. She is madly in love with life and does not know how this story ends; she’s making it up as she goes. Kate is the owner and editor-in-chief of Be You Media Group. She also writes for The Huffington Post, elephant journal, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, Yoganonymous, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. She facilitates writing workshops and retreats throughout North America. Heart Medicine, Kate's book on writing, is now available on Amazon.com You can follow Kate on Facebook and Twitter

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15 Responses to ““I’m from Newtown and I have something to say to the world.””

  1. Stephanie says:

    Fantastic article Kate. I am so moved by this tragedy. My children and I meditated on love and peace last night for the families that have been shattered.

  2. KC says:

    this was wonderful. I’m so glad you shared it. thank you.

  3. Lorraine Jenks says:

    Yes, we grieve for those families here in South Africa too. Just such a pity that there isn't the same amount of empathy for the hundreds of children killed in Goma. A parent can never, ever recover from the loss of a child. So sad.

  4. cassandralanesmith says:

    Thank you, Kate. This was the motivation for writing the piece I did. When Columbine happened, the last thing we cared about was gun control. The media had a different agenda. I lived a block away from Columbine and had reporters and cameramen trying to jump my fence for weeks to get a good shot of the school. We built a memorial site at the park next to the school and the media wouldn't leave us alone there either. It was infuriating how much the media invaded our lives for months, wanting to talk about gun control and bullying. We just needed space to deal with everything. I feel so deeply for Newtown right now, and hope the country and media can remember that while this issue may become political, it first and foremost a devastating loss of life.

  5. Patty says:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Kate.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Thanks Kate for sharing this and thank you Newtown Boy for letting us know how it is for you and what’s not helping. Sending love & light xx

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  8. Peaceful Warrior says:

    so powerful Kate

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this thoughtful and authentic post.
    (BTW if you're interested you might want to double-check the spelling of the word between gallivanting and blackberries in your profile :>)

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  12. Lisa says:

    Thank you, Kate. This boy/man is being so honest and it's truly powerful. I hope the media receives the message: peace and compassion is the best way to help. Give the town and families some privacy. Certainly we can honor them by beginning to make some changes cuturally, but right now, they need healing. Stephanie above mentioned a practice of sending peace and compassion. It's a simple practice than can be found in this post if others would like to try it at home or school: Breathing Compassion: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2012/12/breathing-

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