We are here again.
So soon, we are here again.
Another mass shooting.
Another place where many lost their lives for no reason than being present when someone else decided to release their rage on those around them.
It seems insufferable that such an incident could happen again.
That our hearts could be made to tremble so because one of us took up arms against their own, but forgot to notify the rest of us that we were at war.
How could this happen? Again?
I know there is not an answer to that question. I only ask it in stunned disbelief at yet another news headline that brought me to my knees and stole my breath at the sheer vileness of another person’s act. Because all I am left with is my words; and small as they are, they are all I have left in trying to understand my world.
These are the words I would like to say to the person who committed this offence.
What you did is cruel beyond words. No parent wants to hear the words “Your child is dead”; but knowing that your child died in fear … how is a person supposed to hold such thoughts? And it seems a little worse – though how can it be? – that they died in a place where we thought they would be safe. In a place where we willingly took them to and left them because we believed that the space was safe! You have defiled a space that is at the heart of a community; and turned what was sacrosanct into an arena of blood and suffering.
What did a child ever do to you that would cause you to treat them like this? How did a child hurt you so, that you felt able to hurt so many others like this? What can a 6 year old do, to drive you to punish them so?
I have been raised to act through forgiveness, but your actions test me. I hate you for making me despair of us as a species – no matter how briefly. Because even as you slew those in your path, I know that there were others who tried to prevent you; who tried to protect the very children you were intending to harm. And that in that one brief moment was contained the very best and very worst of us.
I hate that your actions will cause increased security in our school buildings – whose walls are already overburdened with alarms, gates and cameras that monitor every square inch: meaning our children grow up accustomed to being surrounded by physical symbols of constraint and heightened danger in a space that should be about growth, learning and extension.
I hate that you took our seedlings and extinguished all their possibility: and that those who died by your hand did nothing to harm you.
I hate that once again, I have been made me a little afraid of our shared spaces: a little afraid of the person who passes me on the street. Because you are one of us; and yet one of us perpetrated this shameful atrocity. How can we protect ourselves when the threat comes from one of our own?
I hate that I can’t stop wondering “where next”?
And I hate that all your actions have left me with are the words “I am so sorry”: because “I’m sorry” will never be enough to comfort those who lost loved ones at your hands. “I’m sorry” will not reset the wrong that you did nor shorten this period of mourning: because in reality, this is only the start of the grief. And though we may send our love and our prayers to those immediately affected by this incident, there is nothing we can do to make this situation bearable.
And from the news reports it appears that you may have taken your own life. You felt able to do what you did, but not able to face the consequences of your actions? You have no right to hurt others with your own pain.
Did you think that we would suffer in silence? That you could escape explaining your actions?
I have to believe that you will answer for what you did. Somewhere. Somehow. You will have to account for every bullet you released. For every life you took. For every tear you caused to be shed in anguish, despair and inconsolable heartbreak. You will have to answer for every family who is now one member less. For each member of a community who now stands on familiar streets turned unrecognisable by terror and grief.
You will have to answer.
And there will only be one question.
After penning the above piece and having some time to think about it, I’ve had to acknowledge that the sentiment and the question goes beyond Connecticut. In the last year alone, there have been many incidents around the world where both children and adults have been massacred. In Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan and in Syria: and in many other places that I do not know about or that the media has not been aware of to report – or alternatively, chooses not to report (for whatever rationalisation).
The reason why such incidents hurt is because all lives matter. For at the point when we start believing or acting as though some lives matter less, is when we behave at our ugliest and at our most dangerous.
It does not matter that those who died were not known to me. It does not matter that I cannot pronounce the name of the place where the incident occurred or point to the relevant country on a map. Regardless of age, ethnicity, gender or any other arbitrary distinguishing feature of the victims, I mourn because a life was cut down. Because I am one of many and they (both victim and perpetrator) were one of us. And because losing one of us through hatred and anger and in fear is a wrenching apart of “us”.
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AUTHOR: I am might war. I have a love of music, the written word, travel, Anime, polar bears, people and “sticking and colouring”.