I’m not one to jump on a media bandwagon or blog much about the “news”. Particularly because there’s enough banal trivia floating through Twitter, Facebook and traditional media outlets to more than cover our desire for bright shiny objects and breaking news.
For some reason, today is different. Today 27 people were gunned down at an elementary school in Connecticut. This post isn’t about making sense of a senseless act, it’s about us. It’s about why blaming the “sick world we live in” will never be enough to solve our darkest problems. Jon Stewart said the following after the Arizona shooting.
Someone or something will shatter our world again and wouldn’t it be a shame if we didn’t take this opportunity and the loss of these incredible people…to make sure that the world we are creating now…wasn’t better than the one we previously lost.
This afternoon, my twitter feed erupted. From “sicko” to “lunatic”, there were no shortages of adjectives to describe the young man who pulled the trigger. There were the predictable conversations about gun control, and even a few tweets about mental health. What there wasn’t was a conversation about how we help create an environment for someone, an environment where this kind of act is their only option.
I’m writing this post as I listen to my 14 month old son sing himself to sleep for his afternoon nap. We forget that Adam Lanza was once someone’s 14 month old son. We forget that he too went to kindergarten. That he too was once a child, likely full of life, laughter and hope. I’m not ever going to condone something like this… but I am going to ask what happened to Adam in his life that led him here? Or what didn’t happen? What peer bullied him on the playground? What close family friend or relative abused him? What school counselor (or teacher, coach, aunt) missed the signs of depression or mental health? Or worse, ignored those signs? Or didn’t have the capacity to do anything about it? Didn’t have the support of the administration or family or community to help him?
The people of Newton, Connecticut are in shock (as we all are), and rightfully we need to do everything we can to ease their pain and suffering. But we can’t let it stop there. It’s not about gun control. It’s not even always about mental health.
It’s about making sure that EVERY child is kept safe, secure and loved. It’s about creating the kind of world that’s better than the one we just lost. It’s about knowing that in order to create that better world, we need to acknowledge that we might need to change too. We might need to be more empathetic. More aware. More loving. Friendlier to our neighbors. More involved in our community.
And above all, we can no longer just “tweet” or “post” about our outrage, our suffering, our pain, our “messed up world”. We need to do something about it.