Today, Newtown, Connecticut will begin the heartbreaking task of lowering twenty small coffins into the ground. Six-year-olds Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner will both be laid to rest today, and the ritual will continue for days, with more funerals to take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. Yesterday, President Obama visited Newtown, Connecticut. From CNN.com:
“We can’t tolerate this anymore.”
That’s what President Barack Obama told those attending a memorial service Sunday in Newtown, Connecticut, two days after a man shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 26 people — 20 of them children no older than 7, who would never go on a date, drive a car, marry or have kids of their own.
Obama offered his condolences, saying, “All across this land of ours, we have wept with you.” He praised the residents of Newtown for having pulled together and “loved one another” with a spirit all could emulate. And he asked whether more could be done to prevent more parents, sisters and brothers, like those in this quiet New England town, from suffering similar heartaches.
“Can we honestly say we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?” Obama said, adding that “if we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right.”
“If we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no.”
Like most of you, I’ve spent the last few days wracking my brain and trying to come up with ways we can all be safer in this world, ways that could prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook, the Aurora shootings, Columbine. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t know if it is stricter gun laws or more security measures taken at schools and public places. I don’t know if we can ever change enough laws to make sure something like this never happens again. I have to put my own kids on the bus this morning and I don’t want to. Rationally I know that they won’t encounter terror like this today but I think a lot of us expect change, we expect answers and greater safety measures in place.
After Friday’s tragedy I was listening to NPR and Kai Ryssdal made a point that struck me as being very alarming and profound. There are 58,000 gun shops in the United States. That’s more than all the Starbucks worldwide. I know there are responsible gun owners in the world. I know so many of those who own firearms are mourning and saddened by Sandy Hook. I also know a lot of us aren’t ready to discuss what can be done about the gun situation in the United States, because we still haven’t come to terms about the Newtown, Connecticut situation.
I’m not thinking about guns yet today because I need to send my children off to school. I need to write letters to their teachers telling them I appreciate them, that I understand that today may be one of their most difficult days of being a teacher. I need to think of the families of Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner, and keep them in my heart as they proceed with the amazingly horrific task of burying these children. And I will think of you all, as I have done in the last few days, our readers here who have cried with us and commented with us and have tried to make sense of this. If you would like to donate money to the families affected by the tragedy in Newtown, I have included links below.
(photo of Noah Pozner: Facebook)