I am still haunted by the events of December 14th at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. None of it seems real, and yet it has entered into the public consciousness in a very raw way. I can't look at my children the same way. I'm much more fearful and less trusting of people. I don't take safety for granted any longer. And yet, everywhere I turn, it is as if people are moving on. While this is surely a coping mechanism, I want to know why our public elementary school has the same false sense of security in place. It is very easy to enter the school unannounced and there is nothing to stop a crazy and deranged person from wreaking havoc. In fact, I recently read about a man allegedly planning to shoot up kindergartners in a Los Angeles school. I am livid.
Noah Pozner is the youngest victim of the Sandy Hook Massacre. When you work in social media for a living, you meet many people. Noah's aunt, Victoria, is a fellow blogger and friend. I will never forget her harrowing tweet letting us know that her nephew was unaccounted for. It was terrifying and very personal. As more information became available, my heart broke into a million pieces.
Noah's grandmother, known online as "MC," is also a blogger. Before the tragedy, she kept a food blog related to her love of all things bread. In 2009, she introduced herself to her readers: "I am French... I have been living in the U.S. for over 30 years and... I am passionate about bread, bread making, bread tasting, bread eating, bread blogs, bread books, bread pictures, bread everything." On December 14, her blog took on a much different tone. She wrote: "There will be no more bread posts... on this blog for a while. We just learned that our 6-year old grandson Noah has been murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre this morning. Our hearts are bleeding for him, his parents, his twin sister, his other siblings. I have no words left."
Through her blog, she is finding ways to grieve and honor the memory of her grandson. She provides glimpses into his sweet and mischievous spirit through beautiful portraits she took through the years. She mourns the day when she will run out of pictures to post.
Just when I feel like giving up on humanity, MC sees the beauty in a new day, and signs of her beloved Noah everywhere she turns. She writes:
Were it not for our tremendous loss and pain we might not be assigning any meaning to these occurrences but as it is, we like to read them as tangible signs of Noah's presence and enduring mischievous spirit. If anything they make everybody pause and smile and seeing a smile on the grown-ups' faces clearly comforts the little ones. Since one of the worst aspects of this tragedy beyond the loss of Noah, Noah's deprivation of his entire future and my daughter's bottomless sorrow is to see the little ones grieve, I'd say the more "signs" the better. So, please, Noah, my little one, keep at it! We love knowing that you are still with us.
Twenty mangled little bodies are the price we paid on that day for the freedom to own high-power weapons that can be used in rampage killings. These six- and seven-year olds never had the opportunity to make a decision on gun control, they never got to elect the person who could best represent them in Congress on that issue, they had no say at all. They were born to a culture where violence is omnipresent and revered.
Noah did not die in vain. We cannot become complacent after tragedy and stand by and do nothing.
There is so much that needs reforming. If children can't be safe in the very place that they are supposed to be the safest, we all need to be held accountable. Something is very broken. MC is sharing her wisdom and pain as a call to action. I will not sit idly by any longer. Who's with me?