Friday, December 21, 2012


It was one week ago today that our world was turned upside down by the events that took place in Connecticut. I was late getting into work that day and it was my boss who first told me of the news. From 1,000 miles away in a sleepy suburb of St. Louis we watched the terrible events unfold in a little town called Newtown. We were silent that day, not sure what to say. We sat in our cubes and our offices as the ages of the little victims became public. Five and six years old. Teachers, a special education aid, a principal. Who would do such a thing and why? Like so many (too many) of these cases, we know the who, but we may never know the why.

I was a senior in high school when two students entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado killing thirteen of their classmates, injuring countless others, and changing the way we view school safety forever. I watched the Breaking News in utter awe and disbelief. The kids I saw running out of the classrooms, their hands held high as if they were criminals, and the student falling from the library window in a desperate attempt to survive were my age. Exactly my age. “School shooting” and “mass shooting” hadn’t yet become a part of our public lexicon. We hadn’t yet wearied of another story of killings in places like movie theatres and school campuses. We hadn’t yet become immune to the innocents lost and the devastation left in their wake. 

But there was something different about the events at Sandy Hook School. Perhaps it was the age of the victims. Perhaps it was the setting – Neil Heslin, father of six year old victim Jesse Lewis, referred to Sandy Hook School as “Mayberry.” Perhaps, as Americans, we had just had enough. As President Obama said in his speech on Sunday, December 16, “Surely, we can do better than this.”

We can do better than this and we are better than this. People the world over have wondered what they can do in the aftermath of such devastation. I have personally been inspired by the 26 Acts of Kindness Campaign and of reading Ann Curry’s re-tweets of average Americans going out of their way to be kind to a teacher, a friend, or a complete stranger. Sarah is blogging about her twenty-six acts – one for every victim at Sandy Hook.

We can become angry for what happened in Newtown, and the other sites of mass shootings, or we can do something each day to make the world a kinder, better place. In honor of all victims of senseless violence. In tribute.

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