By Way of Introduction

You can lead a horse to the polls, but you can't make him vote. They would have to modify the booth to accommodate his horse shape.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Empathy, Anger, Sorrow, Compassion and Love.

December 14, 2012:  Expounded upon in slipshod fashion.

I, like millions of other parents out there this weekend, am at a loss. In a pleasant little town in Connecticut there are twenty homes that three days three days ago were just like mine - filled with loving families and Christmas trees and carefully wrapped gifts under those trees. Homes bustling with the normal chatter of life, of the coming holidays, and of young children doing the things that young children do: wondering where the Elf on the Shelf might be hiding today or what might be in the ginormous box that appeared under the tree last night with their beautiful little name written on the tag. The enormity of the loss that those families are enduring right now cannot be imagined by anyone who has not personally experienced it - of that I have no doubt. But if the paralyzing sadness I'm feeling, invoked by the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School is any indication, I don’t know how those people are managing.

How does one recover from such horror? How do you trudge on when your soul has been ripped from you so violently and senselessly? People talk about motive. That is a joke. There can be nothing that passes as a motive for slaughtering completely innocent children. I do not want to forget the teachers and faculty that died Friday either. Their stories carry the same weight and their lives were cut short in the same brutal fashion. They died trying to protect the children of others, and they should be honored and memorialized as such. And the last cowardly act of the deranged piece of shit murdering bastard fuck was to take his own life, so that not one of those parents or spouses of the victims will ever have any real answers, never get to confront the animal that stole so much from their loved ones and from them. So how do you go on? How do you deal with the fact that you will never ever get to hold your child’s hand again, never get to kiss them goodnight, never get to hear them laugh, never get to see them grow up? No prom, no teaching them how to drive or how to cook, no soccer games, no… anything. What just yesterday was a defining feature of your life is gone. The person that occupied the vast majority of your time and your attention? Gone. What do you do with those presents under the tree? How can you ever enjoy anything ever again? I start to cry every time I imagine it, and my imagination isn’t that good. The events of Friday will fade for me over time, the acuteness of the pain dulled by years, but the casualties of that day are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Those directly effected by these events? Their lives will never be the same. That town will never be the same.

All of these thoughts keep leading me back to outrage at the shooter, followed shortly by thoughts of vengeance and retribution. I know it isn’t politically correct, but I really don’t care. Those weren’t even my children, but as a parent... we spend so much of our time nurturing our offspring, getting up at all hours to comfort them, reading them book after book, walking around and around the house half bent over, holding little itty bitty hands, delighting in every achievement, no matter how minor it is. “She almost fell over, but then she caught her balance!” or “She said ‘squirrel!’ I mean, it sounded like ‘skerl’ but she definitely said it.” We watch them play and think about how fast they seem to be growing up. And then they look over their shoulder and see us watching, and they smile the kind of real and pure smile that only a child can smile, and they feel safe and secure, because they know we’re there for them and we’re going to protect them and keep them from harm.

And then we can’t. Because harm is everywhere, and a life locked in your house is not really a life. But when something happens to your baby, you always end up second-guessing everything you did that led to the harm. Some tool I attended high school with posted some asinine comment that suggested the Sandy Hook teachers were somehow culpable because they weren’t toting firearms. I un-friended him. Blame the teachers. Blame the principal. It is no one’s fault but the filth that shot those people. I will not name him. He should be anonymous, and should forever remain so. I saw a quote from Morgan Freeman that basically says as much. My own father has preached the same thing for years for those who would murder someone else to gain any kind of notoriety. No assassin shall ever have his or her name recorded or reported. They will be cremated and their ashes scattered to the four winds, or stirred into concrete for use in sewage tunnels. It is the victims and their families whose names should be remembered.

Those people need all of our empathy, all of our compassion, and all of our love. They don’t need someone labeling the asshole that carried out this attack “evil” or “insane.” Those are cheap and easy outs, and I’m not feeling any charity or compassion for that guy. I noticed that some in the religious quadrant have taken this opportunity to make snarky comments regarding how these things happen due to the lack of prayer in schools. As if their God would somehow be limited by man’s laws. As if He/She/It would turn his back on innocent children because of a beef with legislators. That’s real spiritual and healing. Nice work.

I’m not what you might call a “believer.” I do not believe in the mythical Greek, Roman, or Norse gods. Nor do I believe in the Hebrew god or the Christian god (sorry Mom and Dad) or the Muslim god. I also don't believe in Santa Claus, but I do believe in the spirit of this season of giving, and in the same way I do believe in humanity, and in its incredible capacity for love.

May we all strive to be a little bit better, shine a little bit brighter, love with a little more abandon, and hug our loved ones a little bit tighter – for all those who cannot.

In Memoriam:

Daniel Barden, 7
Olivia Engel, 6
Josephine Gay, 7
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine F. Hsu, 6
Catherine V. Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison N. Wyatt, 6
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Rachel Davino, 29

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Is That a Three Wood?

They say that golfliness is next to godliness.