UPDATE: 9:17 PM Jason Robert Brown, a composer that I love, wrote this. It is heartbreaking, yes, but let us focus on the names of those who were lost in this madness, and not the name of the one who did it. Twenty-six names. Twenty-six lives who went to school like every other day and never came home. May God grant us all comfort and peace.
I need to confess that I've been avoiding the news since it happened, with great success because I won't even turn to a channel that's airing the news. I've been on Twitter, read articles, cried over the list of names. But I can't watch it. There's no amount of footage or analysis that will explain this, because what happened in Sandy Hook is every teacher's greatest fear. We want to believe that if we put enough precautions in place we can stop someone from doing the unthinkable, but really we can't. And that is so very scary. School is supposed to be the one place that I can guarantee my students are safe, and to imagine that space becoming anything else is just too much. I would like to think that I would do anything necessary to protect my students, that I could be that brave in a time of such unthinkable crisis. Trust me, every teacher in that building was a hero. And my heart grieves for that school, those parents, that entire town.
Now is not the time for political rhetoric, it's just too soon, though that time will come. We have to address accessibility to mental health care in this country. There will be a time to have a hopefully reasonable discussion about the gun culture, about our overexposure to violent imagery, about all of this and more. And hopefully some of those things will become action before this becomes another teacher's nightmare.
But those conversations are for another day. For now, we as a nation need to grieve little lives and the lives of those who died protecting them. And we need to pray. In this Christmas season, let us hug our families and say "I love you" more and do all of things that some of the families in Newtown, CT won't be able to this year. I choose to believe that there is more good in the world than evil. I simply have to. Maybe we just need to make the effort to let our love be louder than the evil. Let's start today.