The official news outlets and social media are inundated with the tragedy that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday. The last count I saw was that 20 children and six adults (including the gunman who killed himself) were dead. Senseless.
Then news started to surface that an attack had also occurred across the world in China as a knife-wielding man attacked twenty-two children. Fortunately and miraculously, none of them sustained life-threatening injuries. From my research, I see that there have apparently been a string of such attacks in China, and we in the U.S. are well aware this was not the first school shooting we’ve seen.
But why? What drives a person to want to do harm to others, especially to small children? They haven’t lived long enough to wrong anyone yet.
I learned of this tragic news when a student in my class of seniors found it while I had them doing some research online. Class was almost over and we all talked about how there have been so many horrific stories in the news of attacks in public places. Then classes changed and I thought I would try to put on a strong exterior for my last class of the day, but while they took a quiz, I looked up the shooting on my own and I had a hard time keeping from crying, let alone teaching class immediately after learning of this.
I teach high school, and we had been under a lockdown just earlier the same week because someone from outside our school had made some threatening remarks geared towards another high school in our town. This person was found and nothing violent occurred, but it sure makes a story like this feel closer than it is.
“What if” kept echoing in my mind. I watched my students as they took their vocabulary quiz and I wondered what I would do if someone attacked my class. What if someone tried to harm my kids?
And I cannot stop thinking about the families of these victims, the pain in that community, and the terror the surviving children of this massacre must be experiencing.
Once my students walked out of my room at the end of the day, I went in my office and prayed for those families, that community, and those children. Then all I wanted to do was get in my car, go home, and cry, so much emotion had built up. As I drove home, only one word echoed in my mind as I fought back tears…senseless.