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.
“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.