‘It is time to change things’

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I was driving to the post office when my mom called.

“Did you hear what happened in Connecticut?”

I hadn’t. I was chopping mangoes and addressing Christmas cards — amazingly, with the TV off — and ignored the pings on my iPhone.

She told me the grizzly story: a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, killing six adults and 20 children. He then turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger. Police recovered from the scene a semi-automatic .223 Bushmaster, a Glock and a Sig Sauer. In an emotional statement, President Obama articulated exactly how I was feeling: “Our hearts our broken today.”

I had to pull over. I sat in my car and cried for about a solid 10 minutes. I can’t imagine going through something like this, families mourning the deaths of their children, kids watching classmates slain in a place that they think is safe.

And it doesn’t help that it’s 11 days until Christmas. Or that, two days ago, another gunman shot and killed two at an Oregon mall.

I can hardly write this blog post without shaking and crying. I’m just so completely unhinged right now.

These tragedies make you re-evaluate your life. The petty complaints, the arguments, the gossip, the grudges we hold, the meanness we perpetuate — it all seems so empty and stupid now. It all seems so pathetic and embarrassing.

Every time these things happen, we look at our lives and feel grateful for what we have. And that’s good. But those feelings are almost always fleeting, as we quickly get caught up in our everyday stresses, the competition, our own insecurities — and we forget about the lessons we should have learned. We forget because this didn’t directly happen to us.

It’s human to do this. We all do this. But maybe we really need to stop and try.

This isn’t about condemning people who are materialistic or consumed by their own problems, not matter how big or small. This is about us being mean to others, about being malicious and selfish and cruel. I don’t care if you have an addiction to Louis Vuitton or need to flat-iron your hair before leaving the house — we all have our vices! — but there’s just no need to hate anymore.

Dr. Drew Pinsky said it best on CNN this afternoon: “Kids (were) massacred at close range. It unbelievable we live in that world now … It is time to change things … We must stop this. Enough already.”

I agree. Enough already.

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9 Responses to “‘It is time to change things’”

  1. matt December 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    thank you, Cat

  2. Annoddah Dave December 14, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    CAT: This is as bad as weapons of mass destruction. People don’t think when they push the button or the trigger. This kind of despicable crime makes me want for capital punishment.

  3. jayjay December 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    keep the faith!

  4. Monica Salter December 14, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I too heard Pres. Obama’s statement on this and started to cry…
    Thanks for the honest post about always being grateful for what we have; clearly — it can be taken from us in an instant.

  5. David Jackson December 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    I heard it on the news and immediately went to my son’s school to pick him up and bring him home. It is not unusual for us to hug because we are really close but it isn’t that normal for me to cry about it. I told him what had happened and he started to cry as well. I can’t believe with a world with so much beauty in it that things like this happen.

    Beam me up Scotty… it just ain’t safe here no more.

  6. Hana December 16, 2012 at 10:38 am #

    So poignantly written, Cat! Please read the blog of a mom with a mentally I’ll

    son,anarchistsoccermom.com for a Mom’s heartbreaking blog

  7. M December 17, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    My heart is aching…..

  8. WildeOscar December 17, 2012 at 10:50 am #

    Too many mass shootings. There isn’t a way to prevent someone from doing destruction to others, especially if he intends to get caught or take his own life in the process and he doesn’t have to consider his own escape or survival as part of what he intends to do. Maybe now we’re ready for some serious agreements and decisions that will make those with this urge or intent less lethal. One life is too many, but we can take steps to keep it from being more than 20 lives at a time.

    I hate to say it, but I’m numb, and as sad as I am for those taken and for their families and communities, I couldn’t shed a tear this weekend. As someone who every day has the memory of an immediate family member of mine who was murdered by a total stranger in the 1980s, all I could think was: “What’s next?”

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