Unthinkable. Unable to have a motive. I can't explain it. I don't think if it's somehow explained to me that I'll even have a response. How does someone kill 20 kindergarten children? What happened in Newtown at Sandy Hook Elementary is unfathomable. I think of my son's classroom; he attends another Connecticut elementary school, filled with decorations by the teacher and their students, pictures, toys and educational games. I drop my son off at his school every Monday. I ring a bell, they let me in, I walk in to get him (the doors are locked). My wife is also a teacher at a school in Connecticut - I visit her many Fridays after my son's therapy nearby. They have lockdown drills to prepare for things like this - "prepare" a loose term, there is no way to prepare for this. It could have been any school in Connecticut, or anywhere in this country - so close to Christmas. I saw my governor and our president fighting back tears as they spoke. Gerry Brooks, the lead anchor on the NBC affiliate here for decades, cried on air. I saw a quote that people are "parents first, then leaders". Anyone who was involved with this incident was affected.
Back in my poetry days, I once referred to my home state as the "Connecticut Miracle". It is truly a wonderful place, not a perfect place, but a great place to live, to be raised and to grow old. In the way patriotic people feel pride in their country, so do I in the state of Connecticut - it's neither too urban, too rural, too cold, too warm, too country, too city - it's filled with tradition and also willing to evolve. If you've never been to Newtown it fits the previous description. It's suburban, somewhat rural and affluent, some homes have horses and livestock and farms. My father's house is 10 miles away; I've driven through it many times. Whenever tragedy occurs in this state (and it has in the past, the CT Lottery Shooting, the beer distributor shooting in Manchester/East Hartford and the Petit Family tragedy) I wonder what people think of this place I'm so proud to call home. So far it seems our first responders (unpaid volunteer firefighters from the same town) and the local and state police handled the situation as best they could. I was proud of them. I was proud as I heard of the actions of teachers in the school who saved the lives of students. Connecticut State Police Spokesman Lt. Paul Vance (who I interviewed in a mock press conference in a journalism class at UConn) handled the situation somberly and well. The local media was guarded, intelligent (they weren't the ones who miss-reported the name of the shooter). It's a small state - there's virtually no one who's lived here all their life that doesn't know someone who lived in Newtown or know people in Newtown. I'm sure when Newtown High School athletic teams play state tournament games that the players, coaches and supporters of opposing teams will support Newtown's teams as their own.
I think to myself - this can't happen again. I thought about it after the theater shooting in Colorado, other school shootings that happened - but it keeps happening. I don't have an answer. It's a gun problem. It's a culture problem. It's a violence problem. It's a mental health problem. There are so many ways we can improve - but this can't happen again. It's struck a stronger nerve this time with me - because it's so close to home. For now, I say we keep talking about this. We talk about Columbine. We talk about what happened at Virginia Tech. And we change. We Change. If we don't change, the next mass killing probably won't directly affect someone you know - but it will affect others - but who knows. If you know someone who appears to be in distress of harming themselves or others, talk to that person, talk to others. No one hunts with an assault rifle - do we really need weapons that are meant for mass killings rather than a single shot? We don't need violence so commonly seen on television and in video games. Half of Janet Jackson's nipple got CBS a million dollar fine but I've seen violence and post-violence displayed constantly on network television.
Twenty children and six adults.Twenty kids who were five or six years old. Please, don't let this ever happen again. Don't be quiet - speak out against this and what causes this. Mourn. Be angry. Fix this. Twenty innocent children.
God bless you all on this horrible day.