I'm not sure how to approach the subject of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings. It is a tragedy of such unthinkable proportions it's hard to even fathom. When I heard the news from my wife, my first thought was "Again?" Noteworthy was the fact that I didn't first think "How could something like this happen?" It's happened enough that surprise is not the first reaction.
Only when I asked how many casualties there were and she said 26, did the shock truly set in. Before that I was sickened by the news, but when I heard 26 (later changed to 28, including the killer,) my jaw dropped. When she said that most of them were children, my heart broke.
Later in the day, I repeatedly broke down in tears. This tragedy had an effect on me that no other national event has since 9/11/2001. When I heard the magnitude of that day, I wanted nothing more than to get home, get Sarah out of school and huddle with my family. It was so gut wrenching that someone (or in the case of 9/11 many individuals), would carry out such an unspeakable action that I just wanted to shut it all out.
It was the same situation here. I wanted to pull my kids out of school and lock our doors and shut out the world. I think it was a common sentiment among other parents too. Everyone wants their kids to be safe, and when our schools are no longer a safe place, our gut reaction is to get them home.
Unfortunately, I don't know what the answer is. Is it better gun control? Better mental health care? Tighter security in schools? I think the answer to all is yes, or perhaps some combination of the three. That's not to deny though, that some of the issue is not directly related to the family. A divorced home with multiple weapons and a child with known issues is just a bad combination.
In the aftermath, about all that's left for me is prayer. Prayer for the families affected. Prayer for the community of Newtown. And prayer for my own kids and their ability to process what they hear and see about this event. God help us all.