“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” – Mr. Rogers
There were so many amazing helpers in Newtown, Connecticut last week. And those incredible people, people who risked their own lives selflessly, likely saved countless others. What a gift they gave their community and what a heroic response in the time of such crisis.
I wonder often how I would react in such impossible circumstances. It’s something I think of a lot even in smaller situations. My own personal “What Would You Do” script fast forwarding through my head. Would I stop to help that man across the street? Would I reach into my wallet and pay for that veteran’s meal? Would I jump in front of a speeding car to save a child? I’d like to think the answer to all those is yes.
What I do know is my response to this situation — I see so many posting about their inability to watch, their desire to not see the victims’ faces, their need to hug their children closer and focus on family. That’s not me. I can’t stop watching, reading, listening. I scour the Internet for more news and more answers … when, there just aren’t any. Why did this happen? What did that mother do wrong? Or not do at all? What were the warning signs? And, my god, why oh why would someone do this to children? I can’t turn away from it. It is a combined sense of owing it to the victims to honor their story through prayer, reflection and constant consumption and a parental tickle of fear. Sandy Hook Elementary was a great, safe school in a solid community with involved parents and strong teachers. Madness, guns… they were just too much for all the controls in place there.
I keep thinking about the presents that are already wrapped for children who will never get to unwrap them. I think about the parents who sent their kids to school – maybe even after a fight over breakfast or tying their shoes – only to never see them again. I wonder what went wrong in Adam Lanza’s life that led to this path of madness and destruction. And, I think about the angels who worked so hard that day to protect so many – some of whom lost their lives in the process – and I know that I’ll never, ever forget their sacrifices, and will always aspire to be as brave and selfless in all situations.