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Monday, December 17, 2012
Lessons from Sandy Hook
I have been struggling to find a way to write about the tragedy that befell Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last Friday. The impact of the events, the slaughter of innocent children not much more than babies, has left me devastated, as I know it has left you. It has left me questioning and looking for answers. But you cannot make sense out of senseless; there is no point to try. And blame died with the wretched young man who perpetrated these terrible deeds. Still, there will be debate and discussion far and wide, and there are lessons to be learned.
Incidents of mass destruction occur in America with alarming regularity. Case by case each incident is unique, but as a whole they demonstrate a trend within our borders. I can only guess the deeper meaning, the implications for us as a people. This incident does not stand alone, except in the unfathomable murder of so many so young. When a similar incident occurred years ago in Sacramento, a commentator offered at the time that such an attack, upon our children, is an attack on our society and its hopes for the future. The pain is so great that it reaches far beyond the crime scene. It is the same pain felt by any family or community when their children are slaughtered, be it by collateral damage in war, ethnic cleansing, or the acts of a madman. The pain touches us all, and maybe THIS TIME we will find a way to do something about it, to keep it from happening again.
Enough said, for now. On the home front Diane is recovering nicely. She has good days and tends to do too much, then has a bad spell afterwards. But her bad spells are nothing like what I feared and expected. I say she’s at 94%, but her 94% is better than most people at 100. But I am prejudiced. We got Xander back for an overnight on Saturday. It was the first time he got to come over since the accident, and when his daddy told him he was going to stay with us, he told Nik, “This is the best day EVER!” No better endorsement of mutual love could exist.
After nine days without a car, we have one on loan from Rachael and Jimmy. It’s a step up for us, a Honda Acura that drives like a dream. The car allows us to get places and allows us to take the time we need to figure out what we will do for a car for real. AAA still has not settled on the Kia, and seems to be dragging its feet. I don’t understand that: I have placed calls to the agent in charge of this part of our claim and gotten no response. Maybe she has so many totaled cars from that night in Montana that she has simply not gotten to us yet, but courtesy would dictate she at least let us know that much.. At any rate, we have survived the greatest hardship we have ever faces, being car-less. Up here, a car is a necessity. The Post Office is a three mile round trip up and down icy roads. By foot it takes an hour or more. Nik got up at 3:30 to drive me to work on my work mornings because he didn’t want me walking those roads in the dark. And since I don’t have a horse, I wonder how people managed before there were cars, or roads, and am glad I won’t have to anymore.
Now to move back toward the serious, but only slightly: December 21 is coming. It is at the end of this week, and at the end of this week the world will come to an end. This is according to the Mayan Calendar. Actually, it is one interpretation of that calendar, and not a very good one. But the prophesy stands, and we all can stick around and watch. I did realize a couple of things. First, Congress is supposed to adjourn for the holiday recess on December 21. If they do go without a deal on the Fiscal Cliff, the world might just grind to a halt. Or not. But Congress will adjourn, world or no, agreement or no. Also, the 21st is the longest night of the year. Finally, 22% of all Americans think the world will end within their lifetime. It will, for them, someday. But cataclysms and disasters are not on the weather forecast.
It comes down to this: hold onto one another. We do not know when we will draw our last breath. Cherishing one another is the greatest gift any one of us can bestow. Be kind, be generous, and do not live in fear, just live.
I was born in Holland in 1950. My parents immigrated to the US when I was two. I have many close friends and family on both continents. My wife Diane and I have been happily married since 1974. I have four children and one grandchild (two more are on the way). I love writing and sharing what I wrote most of all..