“Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage? That the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited upon our children year after year is simply the price of our freedom?” – President Obama at tonight’s memorial in Newtown
My son is 9 years old, and is in the fourth grade at a very nice public school. We live in a small town, in a good town, and we happen to live in the right spot for him to attend the kind of elementary school people move to be able to attend. We moved here partly so that he could be in this school system, and they’ve been wonderful – supportive, involved, and committed to the kids.
My son is taught by the kind of people who, I have absolutely no doubt in my mind, would give their lives to save these kids. I know it.
We all heard that on Friday a monster stalked the halls of a similar elementary school in Newtown, CT, and killed little kids. Beautiful, happy, loving, little children. Kids younger than my son. Teachers like his teachers. A principle and school psychologist who ran into the path of bullets to try to stop what was happening. A special needs teacher who died using her body as a shield that sadly didn’t stop the bullets from killing the little ones she tried to hide beneath her.
Tomorrow my son gets to go to school, and someone, one of the kids, is going to be talking about Sandy Hook. That’s what kids do. They hear more than we think, and they trade those rumors, sorting out the truths we think they can’t handle. My son’s teacher and special education director planned to have a guided discussion with the students, to make sure that they knew the basic facts – to dispel fear, to make the kids feel safer. Of course, we have parents who object to this, who think their kids will never find out, who think we shouldn’t be talking about this tragedy with impressionable children.
I promise that if you don’t tell your child, someone will, and they’ll want to know why it wasn’t you.
My son has autism, but he knows what it means to lose someone he loves. To have someone chasing him around the apartment, making him laugh, being important to him … and have that person never walk through the door again. I don’t think he understands death yet but he knows what it means to say goodbye, to miss someone, and not understand why they don’t come back when he asks me for them. I’m glad they’re going to talk to him tomorrow, because I don’t want him to be confused, or scared, any more than he already is in a life that is missing a lot of the language skills he needs to navigate tragedy on his own. His life is already hard. I’m not going to make it worse because I wasn’t ready to talk about this.
For the record, I own guns. And I am willing to sit through any waiting period, fill out any amount of paperwork, even give them up entirely, if it means that not another small child is killed by a one.