Last Saturday, I took to Twitter for a tear-soaked, heartbroken rant full of feelings about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. As I was a student at Virginia Tech in 2007– yes, I was there when it happened– the catastrophic loss of life there hit incredibly close to home for me. Because I regularly interact with (and sometimes visit) teachers and students at work, I was absolutely beside myself.
I do so wish that I were stronger at times like this, that I could do more than spend an entire week sobbing because these things can and are still happening. I’ve seen it all before– the rampant spreading of misinformation, the plastering of the shooter’s face all over the news, the search for a motive, the front page of the paper in all black with the names of the victims, the cameras shoved in the face of people in mourning, the stories of the victims being told one by one, the social media reaction, the heroic teachers who saved lives, the heartbreak, the terror, the caskets, the everything– and I’m so, so sorry that gun violence on this scale could ever happen again, especially to such young, innocent children.
As Nikki Giovanni so aptly put it in her convocation speech, “No one deserves a tragedy.” These tragedies happen too regularly– every four months, on average– and the lives of many children are touched by gun violence each day. It happens in Syria, in China, in communities across our nation and across the world. Not everyone who is a victim or survivor of gun violence gets the same outpouring of grief, love, and support that is happening now for that tiny town in Connecticut. President Obama surely doesn’t show up every time a student is killed in a disadvantaged or impoverished neighborhood.
We have to do everything in our power to make it so that these things can never happen again— for Sandy Hook, for Aurora, for Gabby Giffords, for Paducah, for Columbine, for that little Amish school in Nickel Mines, for Virginia Tech, for our children, for our teachers, and for the victims, for the survivors. Anything less is completely, utterly unacceptable.
Anything less and we should be ashamed of ourselves.