The Times West Virginian

December 16, 2012

Today is day to mourn loss of life, show love following tragedy

Times West Virginian

— Words cannot truly describe the grief this nation is going through right now.

We may not know the families of those who were killed in a gunman’s rampage in Newton, ­Conn. We may never have even been to ­Connecticut or be able to point out the small town of Newton on a map.

But our hearts broke Friday morning when reports that a 20-year-old walked into an elementary school building and killed 20 children between the ages of 5-10 as well as eight adults that day, including himself.

We may never know the reasons the man law enforcement officials are identifying as Adam Lanza killed his own mother and then walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School with two handguns and started shooting.

But still we grieve.

All of the sudden, things like the impending “fiscal cliff,” the box office totals for “The Hobbit” and the “War on Christmas” didn’t matter. We saw the pictures of horrified and crying school children being walked to safety by uniformed officers. We heard the reports of teachers who hid children in closets during the rampage and begged them to be quiet to avoid gaining the attention of the madman. We read stories about young, innocent children who described the more than 100 rounds of ammunition fired like “cans falling.”

When you send your child out the door to catch the school bus, handing them the math book they forgot on the dining room table and reminding them to wear their mittens, you believe that they’ll be safe in the hallways and classrooms of their school for the next eight hours. We should be able to, at least.

We should be able to feel safe walking around the campus of a university, like Virginia Tech.

We should be able to feel safe watching a midnight showing of a long-anticipated movie.

But each horrific act committed by deranged souls robs us of that feeling of safety.

In the hours after the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, virtual candles were lit on social media sites from all over the world. But there were also barbs thrown from both political sides about how stricter gun-control laws could have prevented the deaths of these innocent souls and how the elimination of God and prayer within the public school system has allowed in evil.

Today is not the day to use the tragedy that happened in Newton, ­Conn., as a point in a political argument. Today is the day to mourn the loss of life.

Today is the day we pray for families with presents wrapped under their Christmas trees that will never be opened. Today is the day that we keep a shattered community in our hearts and minds.

Today is the day that we hold our children and grandchildren a little closer and hug them a little tighter.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” — Matthew 19:14