The news from Danbury, Connecticut strikes home with a visceral fear as the reality is that this madness isn’t relegated to a third world nation or ghetto free-fire zone. This happened in a small town with a school that probably looks very similar to most other elementary schools across the country. When Youngest came home, I met him on the front porch and gave him a hug and when he goes to school in the morning, I’ll see him off from the front porch again. While it’s statistically highly unlikely that anything is going to happen and I’ll see him again in the afternoon, the randomness and severity of the violence gives me a lingering sense that this is akin to watching a teenage child leave for service in the military. On top of the shootings at Columbine, Nickel Mine and Virginia Tech, there’s a raw feeling that anything can happen and I had better make it a goodbye when he departs.
Like many people, I wonder what’s happening in our society that this is occurring with seemingly greater prevalence and I certainly have some opinions. But when the family discussed it this weekend, Eldest – home for college break – commented that she felt it disrespectful that Facebook and other social media was full of opinion and invective so soon on the heels of this tragedy. My two cents will consequently wait as she’s correct.
What I will offer is that you take an extra moment when you last see the kids and give them another squeeze, or if the teens are grumpy, suck up the annoyance and give thanks that they’re there to annoy you at all. It’s something that I’ve tried to do with mixed success but will make the extra effort going forward.