|One of the most moving images for me was seeing the balloons that well-wishers had left with the requisite flowers outside Sandy Hook Elementary. This photo reminded me of that. I now imagine these sweet kids soaring through the sky like 20 perfect balloons--free, happy, at peace. I have to. (Image via Pinterest)|
I keep trying to make sense of it, but I'm slowly realizing that this is just not going to happen. It doesn't make sense. It won't make sense. I have never been that person who comforts herself by believing that everything happens for a reason. No one can convince me that there is any possible reason that 20 five- and six-year-olds had to be killed--gunned down within an hour or so of putting on their backpacks and mittens and kissing their parents good-bye for what everyone naturally assumed would be just another day. Until it wasn't.
But while I don't believe that there was a reason that this tragedy had to happen, I do believe that it is within our power to use it as a reason to do something now. I have long been someone who believes that we need stricter gun control (to say the least), but admittedly, I've done a really crappy job of demonstrating that I'm a person who feels this way. I've been lazy, consumed with other things, naively thinking that someone else would handle it. Well, not anymore.
No one's "right" to bear arms trumps a first grader's right to go to school without being carried out in a body bag. No private citizen needs to own an assault weapon designed to hunt people, not deer--certainly not a Connecticut housewife or her mentally disturbed son--and certainly not something called a Bushmaster. No one should be able to waltz into a gun show and buy a killing machine without a serious background check. And no one should have an easier time obtaining a gun than buying freaking One Direction tickets.
I am sad and I am mad. And I have to do something. We all have to do something. It's time.
If you feel similarly, here's the good news: Doing something can be easy. Sign a petition here (or here), email your congressman and your senator, tweet this post or others like it, read and share smart pieces like this one by Nicholas Kristof, chat with friends at your job/your school/your church/your playgroup and come up with ways to band together to make change happen, ask--no, demand--that something concrete be done.
There will never be a reason that Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Ana, Dylan, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, Emilie, Noah, Grace, Caroline, Jessica, Madeleine, James, Benjamin, Jack, Avielle, Josephine, and Allison had to die, but if change happens because of it, we may just ensure that future children don't have to.
I'd love to hear your thoughts below.