My husband and I were out of the country last weekend celebrating our 20-year wedding anniversary. It was a last minute, whirlwind trip that I was really excited for. I was excited to leave the kids behind—no lunches, no homework battles, no bedtime fights.
Just adult time.
But then, on Friday night, after a long day away from televisions, newspapers, radio and WiFi we returned to our hotel and heard the news about the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. At that point I wanted to hear my kids bicker and fight—because I still could.
News of the events was everywhere: every television station and newspaper, whether in French or English, broadcast the details and debated America’s lack of effective gun control laws; we watched European soccer where the teams wore black armbands in memory of the victims; people in shops and cafes asked us about the tragedy.
I was grateful that we were out of town so my kids couldn’t see me cry and I couldn’t obsess about where my children were and what they were doing.There is nowhere that I think that they are safe from crazed gunmen anymore. I worry when they go to movies without me or when they go to the mall.
I’ve always worried about school shootings. We moved to a neighborhood where a woman shot several elementary school children. I actually thought that our kids would be safer living in this neighborhood because the odds that someone would commit a similar crime in the same school district seemed in our favor. How ridiculous is it that I even had that thought?
Every now and then I think about our high school choice. We moved from a neighborhood that I loved because I didn’t want my kids going to a high school where the students had to enter through metal detectors. Now I’m thinking that the added security would be a bonus. Again, how ridiculous is it that I even have these thoughts?
I’m not being flip, but why do these murders kill themselves after they’ve shot others? Is it because, as my husband thinks, they’ve suddenly had a moment of clarity when they realize what they’ve done or is it because they know they’ve been caught? I don’t care what the reason is, why can’t they do it before they kill anyone. Does that seem harsh? So does killing 20 innocent little children.
Clearly, after a week, I’ve moved into the anger stage of grieving. I think I’ll be here a long time.