by David G. Blumenkrantz
It's been an amazing vibration here in CT.... I've had an outpouring of calls and e-mails. Plus, everywhere I go around town conversations occur. I live in a small New England town about the size of Newtown.... Feels like being close to the epicenter of an emotional earthquake.
This is the traditional greeting passed between Masai, one of Africa’s most fabled and accomplished tribes. It means: And, how are the children? Are the children well?
The Children are not well.
They are our planets “canary in the coal mine.” We are not well. Still in shock. Both Governor Malloy and President Obama summed it up well when they said "Evil visited this community today." And, the President, choked up, said: "Our hearts are broken today.... these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children." Yes, it sure appears that at a species level the connections are evident in so many ways that all children are our children. Our collective hearts are, indeed broken.
I've had a lump in my throat since Friday. You know the kind that wells up just before the tears begin to flow.
Unimaginable tragedy that has shaken so many around the world. At the same time a knife wielding man injured 22 children outside an elementary school in central China!!!! And, what of all the children and adults killed on that day, this day and into the future. At what level are we constantly in collective grief? If we are all connected we are all conscious of these losses.
Everybody has been asking why.... I'm certain that many pundits and psychiatrists, profilers and others will fill the void and create a story to answer the unanswerable, Why?
Why? Evil exists and manifests itself in tragedies that lay outside of reason. We are story-making and story-seeking creatures. The stories will be told. I've made a few up myself to comfort and fill the void. But, what has been learned here that hadn't been learned in the growing list of communities that have faced this tragedy: Columbine, Littleton, Virginia Tech, University of Texas at Austin's Tower in 1966, Oak Creek Wisconsin, Aurora Colorado, Clackamas Town Center in Oregon....? Newtown has become a member of a club that no one wants to be in... Newtown is like every town. They care about their children...
I understand that reducing the cause of this and other horrific events to the concept of “evil” is inadequate and stirs more debate. The origin of the word evil means “bad, vicious, ill, and wicked.” It brings the experience to the level of the heart. It’s an expression of disapproval, dislike and disparagement. Evil was the word the Anglo-Saxons used where we would use bad, cruel, and defective or harm, crime, misfortune, disease. It even has connotations of “extreme moral wickedness.” If we can’t accept it as evil, the term just doesn’t work for you, then don’t use it. It’s not worth splitting hairs over. It is certainly the act of an unstable individual, perhaps one who has a clinical diagnosis and been disconnected from life as we know it. Couple these individuals with the availability of assault weapons in our society it opens up unimaginable possibilities that we’ve experienced far to often.
This is another awakening to the need for community. The need for meaningful connections. Look at how many prayer vigils have spontaneously taken place. People seek out people in these times. We yearn for community, to be connected at deep levels. I can't help but think what the shooter, who I will not even dignify by name, was sensing when he went to his mother's home and shot her.... Two of the most taboo heinous acts one can do, killing your mother and children. I can make up a story that addresses the Why, but really.... What now?
Anyway, it's been a tough 24 hours. We've had almost 24/7 news cycles on this, which is really bad... I’m not watching. More stories, more wondering. More children exposed. Wondering… Am I safe at school or anywhere? I see their faces. I hear their questions. Surely there will be more outcries for gun control and prevention to stop this. Stop evil?
How can we really do better for our children? Maybe some day we can say in response to the question: How are the
Children? They are happy and healthy. Thank you….