Let’s just put aside all the gun-control debate and call it like it is: 26 people died on Friday in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting – 20 of them were children. My good friend Austen said it better than I ever could in this heartfelt Facebook post . . .
I’m not one for speaking publicly on controversial and emotional public events and breaking news. I’m not usually one for emotions or sentiment. But today got to me. Yes, this is fueled by the fact that most of the victims are children. And yes, this is melodramatic and I might be more upset than I should be, but that’s how it goes.
Without advocating for tighter or looser regulations on gun control, I think too many of us are worried about the political implications over the human implications of today’s mass shooting. Can we put the guns and ammo discussion aside for a day or two? At least 18 children had the most basic of human rights – life – ripped from them; no choice, understanding, or say in the matter. Some of them hardly 5 years removed from birth.
Remember when you were 5 years old? You weren’t worried about work, school, bills, or stocks. You played, you enjoyed life. Sunshine meant you could run around outside, and rain meant you could do the same, but you got to jump in puddles. Lightning meant we had to stay inside, but we it put on pretty cool show, and we got a kick out of it. We were entertained by everything. We didn’t laugh because other people did, or the social construct told us something was funny. It was an expression of joy, unbridled and pure. And that’s just what we were – and these children were. We are the purest version of ourselves when we are children. We weren’t yet happy because someone told us to be; we were happy because that’s what we wanted to be. And then we grow up, but that’s all part of the fun.
These children will never have the chance to experience the freedom of driving a car for the first time. The feeling of how your heart beats right before a first kiss. No prom. No graduation They’ll never experience heartbreak. Hitting a home run or learning an instrument. Sand in their shoes. The first broken bone. The tug of a fish on the end of their fishing line. Coming home to a surprise kitten or puppy. The first day of a new job. Doing poorly in a class and working to get their grade up. Or not doing it and facing the consequences. These are the things that make us who we are. The things that would have made these children into who they were supposed to be, but will now never have the chance. All of this potential to live, to thrive, has been stolen.
Then there’s the parents. There’s no love that compares to that between parent and child. It’s indescribable, at least for me, because I’ve yet to raise a child. I have, however, been lucky enough to be on the receiving end of that love. It’s real, and the parents of these children are surely devastated. Their lives in upheaval around what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. Hundreds of Christmas and Hanukkah presents will remain unopened, their intended recipient no longer there. Their toys will be left on bedroom floors. Their drawings stay hung on the refrigerator door. Their beds lay unmade – a cold, lonely reminder of the warmth and wonder that used to occupy them.
Lets think about the precious little ones we no longer have, and let our hearts and thoughts go to them, the survivors, and the families. If you pray, do that for them. If you don’t, then just hope, or keep them in your thoughts. Stop angling your political stance and start remembering what it was like to be a child. Think about who you are now. Think about the people you love. Then think about if you never had the chance. – Austen Montero