Saturday, December 15, 2012

Contemplating Newtown

Heavy sorry looms over the only state I have ever known as home. Twenty-four hours ago, an incomprehensible act of senseless violence took place in the nearby town of Newtown, Connecticut, a town I have always been fond of. We spent a lot of time there while living in neighboring Southbury. Some of our favorite restaurants, a barbershop I frequented, our bank, even our favorite dairy farm ice cream stand call Newtown home. It’s a town where some friends of past and present now reside as well as some of my cousins, and a community my wife and I have considered living in over the years.

Now when I turn on the news reporting on the tragedy, I recognize in the background little spots of normalcy, places we’ve enjoyed or just know in passing, corrupted my bright news camera lights setting the stage for the latest horrific details to be revealed. I know a few people whose loved-ones bore witness to this tragedy, including a teacher and a few students – all safe and unharmed – forever touched by this event. Another friend’s professional mentor and friend was not so fortunate, sadly.

Last night on my drive home from work as I approached Newtown along I-84, helicopter lights became apparent in the distance; more numerous as I passed by the Sandy Hook area. The exit ramp for Sandy Hook was barricaded confusing the drivers ahead of me as I listened to the governor’s emotional speech from the Sandy Hook firehouse. A surreal moment and harsh reminder of a complicated and difficult day to comprehend.

Like Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Aurora, Newtown, or more specifically the beautiful small community of Sandy Hook, will carry a tragic and unfortunate mark in the American conscience. Let’s not remember it only by name, thought, let us remember each of the victims, including everyone who lived through it, and their families, and help them move forward with their lives.

No political arguments on gun control or religion in school will bring back the innocent lives lost; nor will they prevent further tragedies of this nature. All Americans need to come to an agreement that these violent acts cannot continue and look at the root causes. Untreated mental illness, easy access to legal and illegal firearms – we as a society need to change what we are doing in these areas, because our current actions are not working.