This morning, everything was normal. I woke when the kids did, I yawned, I got their breakfast, I gave them a bath, I turned on my computer, I checked Facebook. It was there I had my first inkling that not all was right with the world. Several posts made mention of a tragedy, but I had to go looking at news sites to find the specifics.
I wish I hadn’t.
Normally, distant events have little impact on me. I can acknowledge a tragedy without feeling any sadness; I am more likely to feel frustration at people’s acts than despair at the outcome.
But this time… I am not ashamed to admit I was in tears, and am again while I write this. Those children, so young, shot down in a place that should be safe and secure and normal, and for what? So very young. So many of them. So many families deprived. Whole lives, towns, the world, devastated.
I am astonished how even out of the devastation, stories of heroism emerge. Teachers saved their classes, hid them in closets or bathrooms. One teacher told her entire class she loved them; she told the media afterwards that she had no idea if she was allowed to say that, but she wanted it to be the last thing those children heard, if they were to die that day. People have shown incredible bravery in the face of sheer terror.
But there is the other side of the coin. This incident (what a horribly clinical word, incident) has once again raised the issue of gun control in the US, and gun lobbies are spinning the old ‘Guns don’t kill people, people do.’ And then there are the Christians who appear to blame the whole thing on Atheists, and the separation of church and state. If they could see me now, weeping, they might reconsider.Personally, I think we need to move beyond petty blame-games, beyond name-calling, beyond procrastination. This horrific slaughter should be the straw that breaks the camel’s back; if this doesn’t result in stricter gun control laws and better mental health services in the US and indeed the world, nothing ever will. Lets all go to hell in a handbasket, says the Atheist. I despair.