Yesterday I was standing at the window during class and suddenly noticed a line of elementary kids coming towards my school on the way to see a performance of the Nutcracker. They looked so sweet, so innocent bundled up in brightly colored coats and hats. As I looked at them I couldn't help but think of the families in Newtown, CT that will be mourning the loss of their kids tomorrow on the one year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting. Last year I wrote an untitled post more for myself than for anyone who might read this blog. When I reread what I wrote a year ago, I feel much the same.
I've continued to try to be media silent in what I watched or read about the story. I did watch a haunting 60 Minutes interview with the parents on the eve of the now failed Federal gun control legislation this past March. It was an interview I wish I had walked away from hearing. One particular parent's nightly ritual to honor her son is forever stuck in my head.
It was everything demonstrated in unconditional love for a child. Even when I am ready to at my limit with Ben and Ian, I can still physically hug and kiss them every night. They get a 2nd, 3rd and so on chance each day to mature into the men they are becoming each year.
I've been very conscious not to look at the 20 first graders names listed. Thinking of their parent's naming them as babies never imagining they would not live to see their children's names in print of a graduation program, wedding annoucement or other life milestone is just too unbelievably tragic of potention cut short.
The only other program I watched in the last year was a Frontline piece in which the relationship between Adam Lanza and his mother was the subject. It told a very normal story or a parent doing what they thought was in the best interest of her child. Knowing that his first victim was his own mother or that no extended family stepped in to claim Adam's body for almost a month after the shooting is tragic in his own way.
A year out from this story I am very sad to say that tougher gun control laws failed federally and that elected officials have taken heat or even been recalled for standing up for what seems common sense tougher gun rights.
The Harper High School series from TAL asked a loaded question about the relationship race and guns. Sadly that school was faced with another shooting death this fall.. This American Life very boldly asked why a inner city high school didn't receive the same media appeal as Sandy Hook Elementary given a similar number of lives lost.
Later today my AP Gov't class will have a final Friday public policy debate. It was not intentional when we drew dates for topics that gun control would be final debate and come on the eve of the one year anniversary of Newtown's tragic loss. I will stay neutral, like I have for all other debates, and watch student's moderate the two positions.
I will be looking at a note left in my lunchbox by Ben, now taped to my work laptop and thinking that starting a dialogue, even with high school seniors is worth the time. It is one of the paths in my realm of impact and potential change to honor the memory of those forever frozen as 1st graders, their teachers and administrators, and the mother of a badly broken child.