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.