I used to find the openness of my youngest son’s campus charming. I loved that there were no locked doors leading to the building, no barriers impeding parents and children so they could come and go freely and play in the desert behind the school. Everyone knows everyone, so small and close-knit. It was safe and secure.
And then Friday happened.
Now, I walk onto campus and feel paranoid. I see my child and his school as an easy target. I find the coming and going of adults and students as troubling. I do not trust this small community will be safe from the dangers of a lunatic.
I was shaken to the core by 9-11, but I believed in the goodness of this country. I was shattered by my husband’s murder, but I still believed in the goodness of mankind. But the murder of 20 little kids? This has terrorized me in a very unexpected way.
I don’t like knee-jerk reactions to public policy and yet I find myself wishing we could repeal the Second Amendment. I know we cannot and should not do so. But still, I’m angry with gun lovers and especially the NRA. I want to blame them.
I know how overwhelming it can be to deal with a child who is struggling with depression and yet I find myself angry with the shooter’s mother. Angry she allowed guns in her home. Angry she didn’t do more, whatever that “more” may be.
I hate it when people blame the media and in particular the entertainment industry for society’s problems and yet I find myself angry that games like Black Ops and Assassin’s Creed exist. I want to scream at the makers of these games because my 11-year-old thinks I’m the worst mom ever because I refuse to buy them.
I know there are no easy answers and no easy solutions to Friday’s violence. But still, I want us to do something. I want gun control instead of militarized schools. I want insurance companies mandated to cover innovative and long-term care for those who are suffering from mental illness. I want help for the parents who are caring for these kids.
And I want all of us to talk to our children about what happened. Not to scare them but rather to help them understand that actions have consequences and violence leaves a trail of pain and suffering beyond most people’s comprehension. I want us to raise compassionate children and young men who do not see empathy as a weakness.
There are many actions we can and should take because Adam Lanza’s America should be left behind. As President Obama said almost two years ago after the deadly Tucson shooting that killed 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, we need an America “as good as she imagined it.” We need an America worthy of all of those beautiful young lives lost to violence.