If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.
It’s the end of bright futures and childhoods that sting and shock the most. After the tragedy at Sandy Hook, America mourned. It shed many tears, let out wails of grief, and tried to nurse itself back to stability after this crushing setback. Being a mom, I, too, was among the the chorus of weepers. Still today, I am wandering about in a shell-shocked fog.
I first heard about the tragedy on December 14th while reading The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne to my five-year-old daughter. I saw the headlines on the Internet. 26 dead including 20 children. Blood shed. The end of innocence.
Children can sense everything, good and bad. Try as I may, I couldn’t shield my daughter from all the media coverage. She knew something was wrong. Even before she heard about it, when parents at her preschool thought they were inconspicuously talking about the shooting away from little ears, my daughter could feel the palpable pain and heaviness that gripped everyone around her in those first weeks after the massacre.
“Did the children die?” she asked me.
Scared to tell her yes, but even more fearful of not telling her the truth, I answer. “Yes, the children are gone. But we’ll remember them always.”
It’s the end of America’s naivete about guns in our country. Let’s get real. Gun laws are not working. Solving the problem, NRA style, by having armed guards and rifle-toting teachers in our children’s schools, is ludicrous. The death of those beautiful children at Sandy Hook, as well as all children who are slaughtered by gun violence in our neighborhoods and on our streets, is appalling. Assault and military weapons don’t belong in the hands of civilians.
I am afraid. For my child. For all children. Like most parents are.
Since Sandy Hook.
I feel so stressed worrying about what is going to happen to my daughter every time she steps out the door and into a country of gun-crazed mass shooters. Into an era that seems so callous and nonchalant toward its most important resource: its children.
Is it the end of our loss of human compassion, of humanity even? To shoot down children? How did we get here? Yes, the shooter shot those 20 children, but how can America now just go forward and not do something? All during the first week after the tragedy, my daughter kept repeating: “The guns need to die, not the children.”
“Yes,” I kept replying to her. “The guns need to go away. Far away and never come back.”
Filicide is ugly. And it seems that America is committing filicide by not dealing with the gun control and mental health issue. Is this really a nation killing its own children?
Today, the victims at Sandy Hook have all been laid to rest, and the survivors have gone back to school. My daughter and I have just finished reading The House at Pooh Corner despite all the sadness of these past days. My daughter has just asked me the big question: “Can the mommies and daddies protect the children from the guns?”
All of a sudden, I tear up and draw her tight. I rock her in my arms. I know I can’t protect her from the next gun going off. No parent can. “We are going to try,” I whisper to her. “But we need a lot of help.”
My daughter joins in the crying with me.
I try to comfort her.
Our sobs and tears meld together and fade into the uncertainty of her tomorrows.
–So they went off together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing. — A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner