There are no words for today. How life goes on after the shooting in CT yesterday I do not know. How the parents whose babies were killed at school will go on, I can't imagine. As my readers who are fellow parents no doubt have been doing as well, I keep thinking what it would be like if this happened to my daughters, at their school. They are the same ages as those CT children; their school is highly similar to Sandy Hook; our town seems much like Newtown. With all the staggering fears I have now, as a parent, over what could happen to my girls, one that has never entered my mind is that a disturbed and pathological young man could easily access semi-automatic guns, enter the front door of their school, walk down the hall and kill them. I have never thought of this. I am sure the parents of the children at Sandy Hook never had either.
It seems to me that if your child was taken from you at Christmastime in such a horrific, senseless, terrifying manner, you would be done for. If it happened to me, I am sure my life would be over. The world would not go on turning for me. I could never, ever survive it.
My littles know nothing about yesterday. I pray they do not find out, not yet, not at this young age. I am afraid they will see flags at half staff, or that older children will say something to them. I keep NPR off now. I try not to think about it when they are around because my eyes fill with tears when I do. How can you explain to small children that they are safe, that their school is safe, that it's okay to go to school on Monday, once they hear the story of Sandy Hook? My daughters are 6 and 8; they do not even know, yet, of real evil in the world. To them, evil is the Abominable Snowman on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Who turns out nice in the end.
I'm a clinical psychologist. I've learned about psychopathology and twisted thoughts and delusions and truly sick individuals. I believe that, whether you have classic-onset schizophrenia (as, for instance, the Colorado movie theater gunman obviously does) and are hearing voices telling you to kill others or whether you just think it's the right thing to do for other reasons, by definition you are mentally ill. A healthy, normal brain does not make a person think he should mow down groups of people. I can't explain this type of mental illness, but that's just it: it's incomprehensible; it's unexplainable. And yet, there are people like this in the world, and they live among us.
I do think that having a President who is a father to young children is going to help us here. The President cried when he heard this news, as did all of us parents. He reacted as a parent first. I hope I am not wrong, but I honestly believe that this incident is the straw that broke the camel's back to President Obama. I hope his reaction as a parent will now inform his actions as a politician. I try not to be political on this blog, but clearly when a young man can obtain semi-automatic handguns and kill kindergartners and their teachers in a typically-secured elementary school, we have a serious problem with gun control in our country. Or, rather, lack of gun control.
My heart is sick and broken, and I know yours is too.