Remembering the Victims, Learning to Move Forward

Like many people, I am still going through periods of fear and sadness as I think of the school shooting last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut. There is no lack of commentary on the tragedy, but here are a few that I found rise above the rest.

  • The pieces that have impacted me the most are the ones that tell the stories of the victims. The Washington Post has profiles of all of them. So much life. So much loss. A must-read even if you are tired of commentators commenting.
  • If you want a little smart commentary, however, try Andrew Cohen’s piece at The Atlantic, which is a call for parents to take a united stand against the power of the NRA.
  • Liesl Garner’s piece at BlogHer about the father of one of the victims shows the true meaning of compassion.
  • Teaching Tolerance has a piece that should never have had to be written, “Helping Students Navigate a Violent World.”

I wrote my own piece about the shooting for my newspaper column this week, which should appear in various papers in a few days. I’ll post it here after that. What have you found written about the tragedy that has helped you or your children weather the past few days? Please leave a comment.

After the writing, of course, comes the doing. We must each commit ourselves to action in whatever way we can in order to make sure this never happens again. At this moment, it may be unclear exactly what that entails, although it likely involves gun control, better access to and destigmatization of mental health care, and a culture that does not condone violence. Here’s to clarity in the days ahead about how to achieve those goals. The loss of life was horrific, but let it not have been in vain.

I’ve been hugging my son a lot this weekend. He doesn’t know why, and he doesn’t have to. I want to keep him home from school, but I know I can’t. We cannot let the fear win; we must go on with our lives. All we can do is put the collective love we have for our children towards the goal of making sure they grow up in safety, with schools as a place of learning, not death.