Earlier today I posted a Facebook status update that said simply, "No words." Perhaps it would have been more accurate to have said, "Inadequate words." And so it is.
I agree with others who have said that the time will -- or should -- soon come for reasonable discussions on common-sense gun control legislation; these kinds of too-common tragedies are chilling reminders of the desperate need for that debate. For me, however, that time is not today.
I am overwhelmed by this needless tragedy, as I assume most Americans are. Only in this country do these kinds of mass shootings occur with such a ludicrous level of frequency; and when they do, we collectively shake and then scratch our stunned heads in sadness and incredulity, while doing nothing -- literally nothing meaningful -- to prevent it from happening again.
But today's atrocity was especially grievous as the majority of victims were children. There are 20 children dead. Children. Young, impressionable, hope-filled lives taken suddenly and senselessly in the one place they had a right to feel safest outside the home: their school. The school principal, a guidance counselor and teachers are also among the dead.
The victimization is not limited to those who lost their lives. The children who were friends, classmates, and students of the murdered were witness to this horror and will be unalterably affected by it -- for life.
There are children in Newtown, Conn., with a parent who isn't coming home today and there are parents and siblings now bereft of their most cherished young family members. And it's too soon to say how or why it happened, but not to soon to say that this should never be permitted to happen again. My heart is broken for those families and that community.
And while my heart breaks, I cannot deny that I am angry. I'm angry that this happened, at least in part, because of the intransigence of people and politicians with an inexplicable, insatiable affinity for instruments of death at the expense of reason.
Many of them are the same people who so loudly and piously claim to be "pro-life" while diminishing the gravity of these crimes with the unacceptable explanation "guns don't kill people, people kill people."
No doubt many of them, in their professed infinite wisdom on "God" and how he could allow such a tragedy to happen to children, construe that "the Lord works in mysterious ways" or, worse, "God gave man free will."
These hypocrisies and inconsistencies are of no use to a grieving family or a terrified community of schoolchildren, and these words ring as hollow in such moments as they are unhelpful. They do nothing to adequately explain the horror or to contribute to a workable solution to the problems that caused it. And when I hear them spoken or see them plastered across my screen, I wish their authors, too, would simply have said, "no words." It's time for meaningful action, not more empty rhetoric.
This nonsense must stop. Peace and love be with those families.