Maybe there are adequate words to describe the events of Dec. 14, 2012, a day that, like few others in our nation’s history, evoked a sense of loss and hurt among people of all backgrounds and persuasions. But I haven’t found those words yet.
Perhaps we can try and comprehend how we would react if a person marched into the elementary school in our neighborhood and killed 26 people, 20 of them children, after murdering his own mother with her own gun. But unless we have been put in that unimaginable position, we can’t possibly know how terrible that feels.
We do know that we feel a comprehensive pain that far surpasses our capacity to deal with various human tragedies, and it won’t go way for a long time.
From the moment news started to come in last Friday about a shooting at a school called Sandy Hook, in a quiet Connecticut community known as Newtown, we thought, oh well, just another shooting in America, nothing new here. The numbness to which we have come to accept these awful occurrences did not make us immediately pause.
That is, until the death tool started to rise, and we realized this was a massacre. Then we found out that the majority of the victims were elementary school children, and that dozens more may have been cut down, too, were it not for the bravery shown by trained teachers who shepherded the other kids to safety.
It made otherwise strong men and women break down and weep, from the president to reporters to ministers to law enforcement officials to the first responders who had to enter that school and witness things no mortal should ever have to witness.
The heartbreak and the anger all of us felt on that day, and still feel, is staggering. All of us now know that there is a sickness, a madness that envelops America, and nothing short of eradicating that madness will do justice to those beautiful children we’ve lost.