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Life is unpredictable.

I came home this evening and my wife greeted me at the door saying “my sister is OK”. I thought that she might have been in an accident or suddenly taken ill. My wife saw I had no clue what she was talking about, and said “you have not heard the news”. She then proceeded to tell me that her sister, who is a school administrator in Newtown, CT’s high school had been in lock down, while a young man, whose mother was a teacher at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, went on a rampage killing 20 students ages 5-10 and 6 adults.

Newtown, and especially Sandy Hook village, are small suburban/rural towns that are lovely, quiet and peaceful. There are old Victorian houses that line the main street of Newtown and Sandy Hook is an even smaller village adjacent to small streams and wooded hills. You would not think this would happen there, but even in Norway, it happens. It just happens much too frequently in the U.S..

I am not sure gun control would have stopped this, although there needs to be better regulation of guns, gun permitting and a ban on automatic weapons for anyone but law enforecement. Any hunter who needs the latter, should practice some more, as there is no sport in using an automatic.

Apparently, the hand guns used in this massacre belong to the young killer’s mother. They were apparently legal. It seems at this point that her son may have shot her with them, and then went to shoot the kids in her elementary school class. There was no bullying, as he was 20 and the child victims were just innocent, relative babies. Perhaps there were warning signs, but at this point it is unclear.

What is clear is that there are needlessly grieving parents, relatives, friends and a community. Every day there are more than 20 children and 6 adults killed by adults or young adults for all kinds of reasons. We absorb these deaths, often without notice, even when they make the news. Proximity makes death, and most especially senseless death, real. As parents, regardless of political viewpoint, we all understand a parent trying to protect a child in a war zone. You’ve seen the video and newspaper clips. It is a universal instinct. Unfortunately, the news video does not cover the aftermath of affected families’ lives, because of privacy and the cycle. In Sandy Hook, parents were helpless waiting outside while law enforcement correctly tried to secure the school. It must have been an unbearable wait and more so, for those whose children were lost.

With the holidays upon them, in a town I know well, I wish them all peace.