Today, our nation is holding its breath as updates from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut continue to deliver news about the tragic event. As of right now, an updated blog on CNN reports that a suspected gunman named Adam Lanza, 20, fatally wounded close to 30 people, 18 to 20 of whom were children.
In a press conference this afternoon, Connecticut state police Lt. J. Paul Vance stated that the suspect entered the premises just after 9:30 this morning and that the scene is now secure. State Governor Dannel P. Malloy has been meeting with the families of the victims this morning to ensure that they receive information as it comes.
Words are not able to express the grief and horror of our nation as a whole in light of this tragic event. As much as we are able to offer our prayers and best wishes to those affected, the more we try to make sense of it, the less we will be able to.
This photo from the scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School says it all. For many of us, the image of children walking in a single-file line, hands on each others' shoulders is reminiscent of our own time in elementary school.
The sheer innocence of children’s willingness to cling to one another to ensure that they will not get lost from the group brings me back to the days of line leaders, buddy systems and ignoring cooties for a few minutes because you needed to get yourselves to gym class. When we clung to our classmates on our way from one location to another, it was always because we knew the adults knew best. We knew they could get us where we needed to be safely.
Today, you will likely find your social media feeds filled with discourse about the flawed gun laws in our country and the evil of a person who could commit such deeds. While anger and disgust are natural reactions to irreconcilable circumstances, I urge you to consider the mental health factors that could drive a person to such senseless and horrifying actions.
I also urge you to heed the advice of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney who, in a press conference, stated that “today is not the day” to discuss gun laws. Our stances on gun control may differ, but times of tragedy are an opportunity to recognize just how fragile life is.
Many BC students grew up in the state of Connecticut, and many others dream of entering the field of education. Today is a reminder for everyone that life is not to be taken for granted. Gun-related issues certainly need to be addressed in response to this crisis, but today is a day to tell our loved ones just how much we love them and be grateful for all that we have been given.
As we sit in O’Neill wishing that our finals would magically disappear, let’s all try to take some deep breaths today and count our blessings. Call the person who would benefit most from hearing your voice. Appreciate the memories that have stuck with you through the years. Remember your elementary school self, and be thankful that that child was able to grow into the person you are today.