The one question we are all left with is WHY?
There is no answer to this question. A person could analyze an event like this until they were blue in the face and it still would not answer the question because humanity cannot wrap their brains around such an INhumane act.
I was cornered last night. I had to do something that makes me physically sick, I had to lie to my children. I had to tell them that they were safe, that we trust in a much higher power to protect them and that going to school was going to be OK. I had to tell them these things in spite of the fact that I don’t entirely believe this anymore myself and that scares the hell out of me.
Perhapse I am more sensitive to this because so many of these horrifying events have hit so close to home although I suspect I am not alone in my almost paralyzing fear for my children’s safety.
I went to prom at Columbine High School back in the 80’s. I lived a few miles from there growing up and my parents still lived in Littleton when the shootings took place. I had moved to the mountains by then and that day I was driving with a friend down the mountain to go see Jane Goodall speak. We heard about it on the radio and stopped at the first place we came to that had a TV, a local bar. We sat there in stunned silence as the horror unfolded.
The next day my husband and I drove to Littleton to see my mom and dad and went to Columbine for the same reasons thousands of others did….to find the answer to the question on everyone’s minds…..why? We prayed and cried with family and friends of the victims and placed flowers on the cars of the children who were killed. Cars left as ghostly reminders of the carefree life of teenagers who would not be making trips to the mall or going for pizza in those cars anymore. That event changed me forever.
Last week we flipped on the TV just in time to see the Park County Sherriff Fred Wegener tearfully report on the incident in Bailey. I interviewed Fred for our small local paper when I lived in Colorado. He struck me as a sincere and kind man which was reflected in his report. I cannot fathom how difficult that must have been for him considering he has a son that attends that school. Our children attended a Park County school. Living in PA and seeing him on our local news was completely surreal and instantly brought J and I back to that day in Littleton. It was heart wrenching.
Yesterday when I saw the report just moments after the shootings took place I went into an absolute panic. “This can’t be happening!” I screamed. There is just no way this is happening. The news reports “assured” us there was no concern for our children attending nearby schools but it is hard to believe in safety anymore. I sat and watched as my Amish neighbors buckled at the knees in absolute shock both by the horror taking place and by the swarm of media so foreign to their simple existance. I watched as one man walked over to the line of little boys, grabbing his son and holding on for dear life. I watched as a neighbor of the Amish women ran up and embraced her friends helplessly offering all that she had to give.
As the gruesome facts came to light I stood up, walked outside and threw up. I then sat on my deck and listened to the little children laughing and playing outside of the Amish schoolhouse that sits directly behind my house and just cried uncontrollably for what seemed like hours. The fact that he chose a small one room schoolhouse solidified for me the fact that our kids are just not safe anywhere. Could there be a more terrifying realization for a parent?
I braced myself for what was to come because I knew my kids would be home soon and they would have questions. Their school was on lockdown because of it’s close proximity and a letter from the superintendant accompanied them home last night. When my husband came home we sat down with our children and reluctantly discussed the situation. My daughter described to me the drill they had in class where the teacher shut the door, turned out the lights and directed all of the children to line up in front of the blackboard and crouch down so they could not be seen from the windows in the classroom. My husband had to go outside so they didn’t see him lose it. Remaining calm and collected as she told us this was THE hardest thing I have EVER had to do.
After all of their questions were answered to the best of our ability and we were as confident as we could be that they were unafraid of going to school I quietly slipped out of the room and once again just cried. I cried for the little girls our own girls ages who lost their lives and the ones fighting for them, I cried for the children of the man who did this unspeakable act, I cried for my own children and the world they have to grow up in.
Sending my children to school this morning was the second hardest thing I have ever had to do.
We are left with the same question over and over again……….WHY? We as a society absolutely MUST figure out the answer to this question.
Please keep all of the children in your thoughts and prayers today and every day. Pray for and BELIEVE in a better world for them to grow up in. A world where the simple act of going to school is not need for concern.