This time it is different for me. I’m always furious when these horrible acts of gun violence occur, but this one is just hitting harder. These were just little kids. I keep trying to console myself that maybe some of the victims were so young they didn’t fully comprehend what was happening. It’s not much to grab on to to deal with this situation, but it is the fiction I am using to make this easier.
Christmas was a big time of the year for us- my father collects Santas, and he has usually around 5,000 of them somewhere around the house. There is the Christmas tree with so many ornaments it takes days to put them all up. Lights, ivy, etc. If you saw the pictures I posed the other day, recognize this is 1/10th of the decorations we used to put up. But back then when I was a little kid, my mother and father used to buy Christmas presents for months, wrap them, and “hide” them in their bedroom closet, in the attic, in the basement, and anywhere they could. I have the quotes of sarcasm around hide because even though I was a kid, I knew when it was approaching Christmas time. I knew where to look for the presents. Anytime they went out and left us with a babysitter during this time period, it was like an elaborate Easter Egg hunt for me and my brother and sisters. I’d drag chairs from mom’s office into the closet, pull down the “hidden” presents, and we’d all look at the tag telling us who it was for, shake it, and try to figure out what we were getting.
All I can think right now is how many moms have Christmas present hidden all over their house and were told this morning that their child is dead. How many of them will now look at a Christmas tree, knowing their child will not be there on Christmas morning to open the presents lovingly purchased and wrapped and hidden? How many of these parents struggled for years to get pregnant, and now their kid, because of some lunatic with an easily accessible gun, is dead? How many grandparents who waited for 30 years to have a grandchild, have plane tickets booked for the Holidays, and now need to change those plans and come up earlier to bury their grandchild.
I grew up in a small town where for about 25 months from 1969-1970, every month another couple had a child. These were my friends- Judd, Brad, Micah, Thad, Brian, Ryan, Kelly, Toni, Jodi, Kim, Cole, Ponch, Bert, Erik, Mark, Vicki, Stacy, Dee Dee, and so on. Sandy Hook was a small town, and an entire kindergarten class was wiped out. It would be like everyone who was born in that period in my home town never existed- killed in one horrific act of gun violence. My town would never, ever recover. Ever.
And then the residual trauma. How many of these families will survive? How many of them will be driven to divorce by the trauma. How many of the siblings will never, ever be the same? I talked to my mom on the phone, and she is just inconsolable and simply can not watch the coverage. She’s worried the parents will kill themselves.
This shooter and his easily accessed guns did not just kill 27 people. He ruined thousands of lives. And let’s not forget about the first responders. I don’t care how tough of a cop or a fireman you are, you will never be the same. We’ll have dozens of people with PTSD, leading to alcoholism and drug abuse and family problems.
It’s just so god damned awful it is hard to comprehend. Yet the same fucking assholes who enable this kind of stuff are now going to tell us all that now is not the time to talk about gun control (lest we “politicize it”) and that we need more guns to keep this from happening again.
I think I’m going to be sick.