"Friday changed everything. It must change everything."
-- Joe Scarborough, commenting after Newtown massacre
A bittersweet holiday awaits us. As we gather with family and friends, or spend time in contemplative solitude, many in Southern California will no doubt reflect upon the senseless tragedy that befell Newtown, Conn. on December 14. As we should.
It has been less than two weeks, but already -- in our rapid-fire news cycle, it seems like weeks ago. Some are already moving on from the outrage and dismay felt at the time. No doubt, calls for action will diminish the further we get away from that infamous Friday. At least until the next time.
We can try to distract ourselves from remembering.
We can get caught up in the holiday season and planning for the coming year and almost forget what happened to the children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Almost.
We can pretend it was just another TV show or movie, because surely this was not reality?
We can be thankful that the world did not really come to an end on December 21, while knowing that for the Sandy Hook families it did.
Some are moving on, but fortunately here in Southern California and across the country, countless Americans are ready to roll up their sleeves and 'fix' this. They are asking the hard questions -- what could have been done and what can be done to prevent the unspeakable from happening again?
Still, we must recognize our limitations. Try as we might we cannot stop murders, mental illness, or evil thoughts and actions. We can however work toward safer communities for our families, because as Scarborough said... that Friday did indeed "change everything."
We owe it to our future generations to reduce gun violence in our country. We owe it to the children of Sandy Hook -- and the MANY victims of gun violence -- not to just "move on" this time.
If we do this, future holidays might be a little more happier and Christmases a little more merry.
"This is our first task, caring for our children. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. That's how, as a society, we will be judged."
-- President Barack Obama, at memorial service for shooting victims in Newtown, Conn.
Linnie Frank Bailey is a local writer and editor of Moreno Valley-based Valley Life Today magazine.