I've waited a few days to sort of piece together my thoughts on the shooting in Connecticut. For one thing, I'm 38+ weeks pregnant, and I couldn't even bring myself to look at the news coverage for the first couple of days. I knew, inevitably, that when I did, I would be a ball of sobbing hormones. That was pretty much true. I actually dreamed last night that I was at a vigil, and woke up crying.
I watched a lot of people post opinions about the shooting, even while I was trying to avoid it. We have too many guns. We don't have enough guns. It's the lack of mental health programs. It happened because we took God out of our schools, or still have too much God in our government, or we worship the wrong God completely. There's not enough discipline. Parents aren't doing their jobs. We need to talk about it. We're talking about it too much. You're grieving wrong. No you are. Etc.
I've been around a lot of tragedy, as a part of my job. I've been on the scene of a triple homicide. I've seen multiple child homicides. I've been the bearer of the worst news a parent can get on multiple occasions. The individual reactions are always different.
But one thing is mostly the same. People inevitably react to tragedy by trying to manage the grief in some manner or another. "If I had only done this ..." or "If I hadn't done that ..." We cast blame on society, on parents, on drugs, on whatever we can to help frame it in a way that makes sense.
I believe that is human nature. We look for a way to frame something so that we can control it. Because if it can be controlled, then somehow it's not as scary. Somehow, we can fit it into a box and say, "That wouldn't happen to me," or, "That couldn't happen to us." Hidden beneath those thoughts, though, is the fear and understanding that yes, it could happen to us. Beside the murder of 20 small children and six adults, that's what makes this Connecticut mass shooting so incredibly terrifying. Across the nation we recognize, whether consciously or not, that it could happen to us.
And so we mourn, as a nation.
Remember then, before you jump into an argument with someone to say, "You're wrong," or, "Your argument is offensive," that the person on the other side of that argument is a living, grieving human being who is doing their best to frame the matter in a way that makes sense to them. Their argument might be right or wrong -- it doesn't matter. Nobody grieves "wrongly," just differently. And that person who finds different answers than you, is also the same. They are a mother or father or friend or first responder, who feel, just as acutely, the terrible outcry of the mothers and fathers and children who are the victims of this tragedy.
Do what you need to do to grieve in whatever manner is best for you. Get angry. Scream and cry. Go to church. Don't go to church. Shut down completely.
But be kind and loving to one another, and know that they grieve with you.