Dear Adam Lanza,
What happened? Where did we fail you?
I'm assuming something went horribly wrong in your life, leading you to this horrific day in December, smack in the middle of our holiday season.
Did it happen at home, with the breakup of your parents' marriage? Was it in school or during soccer practice? Were you pushed to take music lessons at a young age? Or did someone forget to wish you a Merry Christmas?
Perhaps it was something deeper, beyond our sphere of understanding, that troubled you?
Whatever it was, I'm trying to comprehend, and asking myself how it led you to take it out on the youngest among us. Our future, our children.
These are children who were likely looking forward to their winter break. No doubt, glad it was Friday and the weekend was just hours away. Maybe, earlier this morning, one had been trying to sneak a peek at their Christmas presents and would have been late for school had their mother not told them to hurry. Perhaps another was looking forward to the seventh night of Hanukkah, to lighting a candle on the menorah, and eating their mother's latkes.
Maybe one was planning to spend the weekend with her grandparents, who had bought tickets for them to see a performance together of the Nutcracker ballet. Another may simply have been anticipating an after-school Cub Scout meeting.
In other words, these were children who were enjoying the moments of everyday life as a kid. Their lives were filled with laughter, song, good friends and family, and, until today, they were living out their childhood, innocently and happily.
As it should be.
Children connect us to our future. They give us hope and they're the reason that we do all we can to protect our natural resources, so that they're available for their future and for their children's.
These are our children, because, as they say, it takes a village. Though it seems it only took one person to destroy them.
The children. So young and dear to those who loved them. They posed no threat to me or to you. Yet, in one fell swoop you took them away. Why?
No, on second thought, don't bother answering. There's nothing you can say that could justify what you did, so no need to waste our time with, what is sure to be, your irrational rationale. No one wants to hear from you, anyway.
Sure, we've had more than our share of mass killings. In Little Rock, Tucson, Oakland, Tulsa, Seattle, Columbine, Aurora, and, earlier last week, in Clackamas. And, when we have, we've mourned.
We talk about gun control, but only briefly, because the NRA is a powerful lobby, after all. We talk about mental health but these conversations wither away without any real solution. No one seems willing to have an honest conversation about what's wrong with our society.
So, Adam, you're not the first, and odds are, you won't be the last. But here's what's different. I have a feeling this time the tragedy you are responsible for won't be swept under the rug so quickly. Know why?
Because this time you went too far. You crossed the line. You did what few other mass killers have dared to do. You killed our young and robbed them of having a future.
Of living out their lives, and celebrating the holidays with their families. Because of you, they won't be losing a tooth and waiting for the tooth fairy to bring them a dollar. They won't be having summer picnics or going to school dances. Because of you, no chance of wearing braces and hanging out at the mall with friends.
These kids won't be graduating from high school and then from college, or experiencing first love and their first kiss. No marriage plans await them. No children of their own, and no traveling and seeing the world. No voting and giving back to their communities as responsible, compassionate adults. And, there will be no following their passion and living their dream.
All this and more was lost.
And for what?
They were no threat to you. They were no threat at all. They were just children. Blissfully innocent children. But now, thanks to you, they've become a statistic. A statistic of mass killings, and of students shot in classrooms. A statistic of deaths in 2012, and of the urgent need to makes changes in our laws.
And, a reminder of all that's evil in the world. Like you.
Now we wait. We wait for the next "Adam Lanza" to rear his ugly head. But, I can't help but wonder, how many more times do we have to endure this kind of national pain before we do something about it? What will it take to make our home a safer place for all, including our youngest citizens?
What will it take?