“What are you going to write about the shootings?”
We were awaiting the approach of Bartow’s Christmas parade Friday evening when a friend asked me that question.
“I don’t cry,” she said before I could answer. “But today I cried.”
Perhaps that says it all.
On rare occasions, even those of us who write for a living find words inadequate.
How many words of condemnation can be found for the gunman who murdered 20 children, age 6 and 7, and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, a Connecticut school that proudly displays the words “Visitors Welcome” on the sign that proclaims its founding in 1956.
Our sense of outrage exceeds our vocabulary.
“Life goes on.”
“They are in a better place.”
The words of comfort, however valid, don’t heal the hurt.
Millions were murdered in the Holocaust.
Thousands died on Sept. 11.
But these were children, the same age as two of my grandsons. These were educators, as are both my daughters.
Political opportunists predictably are seizing on the tragedy at Sandy Hook to advance their anti-gun agenda.
It already is against the law to murder little children. Would making it unlawful to own a firearm add force to that law?
And one prominent political figure has declared that if principals wore sidearms, the tragedy could have been prevented. Yeah, that works.
Both extremes dishonor the memories of those precious children.
Stories of heroism are emerging, like the principal and the school psychologist who charged the gunman, and were shot dead as they tried to subdue him. Their actions do not surprise me. Such is the dedication of educators.
And other teachers, following emergency plans, locked their classrooms, pulled curtains, and herded their children to the safest place in the room. It is impossible to know how many lives they saved.
So we pray for the souls of the victims, and for their families and other loved ones.
We give thanks for the survivors.
Beyond that, perhaps we follow the example of my friend who doesn’t cry. Most of the time.
(S. L. Frisbie is retired. He loves children. He respects educators. After the Sandy Hook killings, yeah . . .)