Today, I visited my boyfriend’s mother while he was at work. His mom is in a very lonely place right now, as her only daughter just recently moved out of the house and eloped with her boyfriend. They went from being best friends who just happened to be mother and daughter to basically having an estranged relationship. Rob’s mom is trying so hard to keep the Christmas spirit alive, trying to put up all of the Christmas decorations without any help, even trying to adhere the Christmas lights to the windows with copious amounts of Scotch tape.
I went there happy to see her and spend some time with family, being as I already have such little family as it is and I am grateful for those few people in my life who actually seem to care about me. I also went there with a heaviness in my heart. On Friday, December 14th, Adam Lanza entered an elementary school and shot and killed twenty-eight people. At least twenty-two of them were children between the ages of 5 and 10. Just thinking about it makes me tear up. Why kill children, one of the last sources of true innocence in the world? At the same time, I am angered because all of this emotion unfortunately has no outlet since Adam Lanza decided to take his life that morning as well. No matter how much hate has welled up in our hearts, we are not able to direct it at him.
When I got to Rob’s mom’s house, we put the television on and were momentarily silenced as the youngest deceased child’s father took the mic for a press conference. We marveled at his bravery – would we ever be able to remain composed in front of millions of people while discussing the six year old daughter who had just been brutally shot and killed two weeks before Christmas? As he struggled not to break down in tears and to honestly answer the questions the reporters fired at him, an overwhelming wave of sadness engulfed me.
I have lost loved ones before. Just one example of many is the day my father died, seven years ago. I found his body, and found myself lost in a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. I tried as hard as I could to remain strong and put on a brave face, and I did so by compartmentalizing the anguish I was feeling and not speaking of it. My boyfriend was one of the only people who truly understood. Whenever anyone asked me about it, and he could tell that I was about to crack and lose my strength and resolve, he would cut in firmly and say that I wasn’t ready to talk about it and he would gently grasp my shoulders and lead me away. Of course, I don’t know now that that reaction was necessarily the right one. We need to talk about it, we need to exorcise these horrible demons out of our lives. This adorable little girl’s father probably felt a thousand times better, as though some of the weight of the world had been lifted, at least monetarily. That’s a good feeling. We can’t keep everything inside; we’ll explode.
In the aftermath of such an unspeakable tragedy, we owe it to ourselves to grieve as a nation and to address these problems head on. This is the only way that we can grow and improve. And while I don’t necessarily believe in blame games, there is fault to be assigned here. Hopefully this horrible situation, occurring on the heels of yet another terrible event, the Aurora Colorado movie theater shooting, can shed some light on our nation’s terribly lax gun laws. What on earth did this man’s mother need six guns, among them a Glock and a rifle used in the Iraq war for? I don’t care about our right to bear arms. We are no longer in the same predicament that we were in the 1700’s. I do not need to own a gun to convince the passerby in front of my house that the property is in fact mine. These laws are outdated and unnecessary.
I have such a great deal of respect for Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Throughout the president’s touching speech on Friday afternoon, in which he nearly broke down in tears himself, Mayor Bloomberg remained steadfast and strong. He asserted that we need not spend more time mourning and grieving; he proposed that we fix this problem immediately by taking stronger gun-control measures. I wholeheartedly agree. While I dedicate a minute of silence tonight to the victims who were taken away from us entirely too soon, I also pray for the future of our country. We have elected a truly competent president, and I hope that he acts fast and makes his time in office as valuable as we prayed that it would be when we elected him.
My heart truly goes out to the victims of the Connecticut shooting as well as their families. I am also going to do my small part by spending as much time with my own family as I possibly can, and by going the extra effort to show that I love and care about them. Life is too short. Sure, it’s a Saturday night. I could be going out with friends, getting drunk, being tagged in pictures on Facebook. Instead, I am watching Elf with my boyfriend’s mother while my boyfriend is at work. The smile on her face, along with the huge hug that I will receive before I leave, tells me that I made the right decision.