This week our nation suffered a tragedy of perhaps unprecedented scale. The age and innocence of the victims leaves us all speechless. While we all try to come to grips with the reality our minds shy away from the pain. Every other instance of similar tragedy in America pales in comparison.
When I heard about the incident yesterday morning my first reaction was "oh god, not another school shooting" and I shunted it aside so I could focus on doing the work I am responsible for. In the evening I finally allowed myself to turn on the television. I could watch the first few minutes with a cap on my emotions, calloused as they are by past experience.
Then the person on the screen said it was a school that only covered children from Kindergarten to the fourth grade. The information caught me off guard, my mind stopped working.
I broke down and wept uncontrollably, face in my hands and wracked with sobbing. Donna came and put her arm around my shoulders while I slowly brought myself under control again.
There is still too much pain in my mind to allow myself to do more than think past the thought, what that really means. I cannot be the father I need to be if I allow myself to look into that pit. This morning I can sit here and write this, wiping tears out of my eyes as the screen blurs, but soon I will move on and decorate the Christmas tree with my children.
I will not watch the news today, and I recommend you do not either. Perhaps I will stop here in my office to talk here with you a few times, perhaps I will not. There is time to think about this together, and the considered pace of the Moose will allow us the opportunity to do that here in a manner that allows the space needed.
The one thought I will provide is that while we may be prompted to fall into the pattern of past conversations regarding gun control, what value can be found in this incredible loss may be another issue. The mental health of the tragic young man who performed this horrible crime.
It may in fact be true that the incredibly unlikely 180 in American gun laws would reduce the instance of such events, but that is not likely to happen. What is going to happen due to the changes made in American healthcare insurance (if I understand the legislation) is that those with mental health concerns may begin to find help within reach. This is something we as a nation might be able to do, to find some small compensation buried in the astounding price we just paid.