The country is still reeling in the wake of the Newtown, CT. shooting. The killer has been identified; he started the day by shooting his mother and ended the day by turning the gun on himself. In between, he shot and murdered twenty schoolchildren, all between the ages of six and seven-years-old. He also killed six women who worked at the elementary school, those that taught, nurtured, loved, and in the end protected the children, paying the price with their own lives.
Grow Mama readers sort their thoughts out with us here as they attempt to make sense of this senseless tragedy.
“No one would have ever expected this to happen in Newtown.”
I’m sorry, but no one should expect this to happen anywhere. If such an expectation may exist in any place, then we are all at fault for what happened in Newtown. As long as society thinks the solution to social evils is to escape them, we will all continue to live in fear that what happened in Newtown can happen again.
What happened today was not about locking down schools (the shooter was a teacher’s son, and they would have buzzed him in anyway).
It was not about access to mental health, because chances are this young man would not have been seeking it (and you can’t force it so easily).
This issue runs far deeper, cutting into a social culture that not only promotes violence but encourages it, in our advertisements, movies, songs, video games, television shows, cartoons, classrooms, politics, parenting, and beyond. Even in the response to the shooting, there is talk of more violence – I’m reading responses like: “Good thing he died, because otherwise I would have killed him, ” and “I’m sad he died, because I would have made him suffer.” Or “this is why I should be allowed to have a gun, so I can be able to kill ‘crazies’ like him.”
The problem runs deep. So needs to run the change.
Nancy Khalil, Cambridge, MA
I remember being pregnant with my first-born. An older woman at the mosque reached for my hand and in her most compassionate and sincere voice told me, “Remember to pray for your children everyday. Morning and evening recite Al Fatiha and the three chapters of the Quran for their protection.” At that moment, motherhood became real. My child was about to enter a new world of unknowns.
Each morning I drop my kids off at school. Every morning I get out of the car and hug them tightly, as I whisper in their ears, “May Allah protect you and help you to make good choices.” I worry about accidents on the playground, bullying, name calling, and peer pressure. I worry about my son’s asthma and severe tree nut allergy. I worry about my daughter’s tears of frustration when she cannot do something perfectly. But never, ever have I worried about a mass shooting in elementary school. Until now. This world is forever changing and everyday it moves further away from the basic principles of humanity.
The piercing sound of gunshots. The crying of precious, innocent souls. These sounds are ringing in my ears. Images of fear, panic and chaos bring tremors to my heart. Oh sweet children, how your mother wishes she could have held you close and protected you on this day. What child deserves this end? Did the school principal or counselor expect to return to God today? One man’s selfish, disturbed actions have left so many homes barren of joy. God knows your hurt. God hears your cries. God will take each fallen child to paradise. Oh sweet children, sing, dance and be happy in paradise. We hope to join you one day.
“Verily with every hardship there is relief” (Quran, Ch. 94)
Sarah Ibrahim, Santa Clara , CA