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I was wrapping up a meeting with my team on Friday when I just happened to go to CNN’s website. I saw the headlines about the Newtown shooting. At the time, they were reporting 20 dead, “mostly children.”

The most sickening feeling of grief immediately washed over me. I looked over and saw that same feeling on the face of the only other team member in the room who has kids.

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare.

I’m not saying that non-parents can’t feel the grief, too. I know that it’s a tragedy no matter what your family looks like. We all feel the sympathy and the weight of this crime because we’re human. But I think that when you have a child (or children) of your own, it’s worse because you actually go there in your mind. That love you have for your child—that scary, all-consuming, chest-tightening love—it means that you simply cannot.even.imagine living without this beautiful little being. And to actually allow yourself to think about that possibility? They are dark—the darkest—thoughts. But for us, they are not real. We can all shake it off and go cling to our babies and pray and swear to never let them out of our sights for as long as we live.

On Friday, twenty sets of parents were not so lucky. Twenty-six sets, actually. And countless other family members and friends who had parts of them ripped away for no good reason.

It’s incomprehensible. I don’t think we will ever stop asking WHY.

But as baffled and disgusted as I am with the shooter, I have also become enraged with the media.

Since when did it become OK to report oodles and oodles of RUMORS and SPECULATION as if they were facts, simply because you are trying to stay “up to the minute” and break the story before your competitors? I mean, I know this is not a new phenomenon, but with this situation, it seemed as if this problem was running rampant.

Take for example(s):

The shooter is identified as R*** *****. Hours later, it is confirmed that it’s NOT HIM at all, it’s his BROTHER.

The shooter’s mother is supposedly the motive behind the entire thing. She worked as a kindergarten teacher. He went into the school to kill her and took a whole lot of innocent women and children with her. That then changed to NO, nevermind, she was a teacher’s aide (or a substitute teacher, depending on who you were watching) but wasn’t working that day.

And then it became, Oh wait, nevermind, she has NO CONNECTION TO THE SCHOOL WHATSOEVER.

Then there was a report that the shooter had gone to the school earlier in the week and had an altercation with four adults there. Three of them were dead and one was not at school that day. But there was no truth to that AT ALL.

And see, if you happened to be watching the news when one of these things was reported and haven’t been following it closely since then? You could be spreading false information. THANK YOU, NEWS MEDIA. I just want to know, what is wrong with saying, “We don’t know yet. We DON’T KNOW why. We DON’T KNOW how.” What is wrong with “We don’t know”?!

And don’t even get me started on the assholes who weaseled their way into homes for exclusive interviews with TRAUMATIZED THIRD-GRADERS. (And yes, I do take major issue with the parents for allowing it, too.)

In so many ways, I hate what our society has become. HATE.

On the other hand, President Obama is taking the opportunity to try to make some changes, ones that I believe could only help, not hurt. I know there are two sides to every coin and I see and understand the arguments. But no one is trying to take guns away from law-abiding, sane citizens. No one wants to revoke your second amendment rights. But shouldn’t all gun owners gladly jump through a few extra hoops if it means that we can MAYBE, POSSIBLY make it a little harder for wackos to get their hands on these weapons? I don’t even necessarily believe that better gun control would’ve prevented this crime in particular—they were his mother’s guns, not his—but I have strong feelings against assault rifles. I don’t understand why anyone needs one, period.

At the end of the day, I don’t know that Obama will be any more successful at this type of change than anyone who has tried before him, but I would like to see someone at least try to fix what is broken here. I know that guns are not the only answer, but again, it seems like it can’t do any more harm.

Speaking of Obama… he cried on live television on Friday. He wiped tears away as he delivered a speech to offer condolences to this little Connecticut town that has been rocked. For the parents whose lives have been ruined. Some people criticized him for it, but I found it so comforting to know that the leader of the free world is not immune to this sadness. He has a heart. And it’s not weakness—he wasn’t up there crying as our president, he was crying as a father. It was hard not to cry.

And to continue my rant and focus on a completely different person… can we talk for a minute about Tom Brady? I don’t talk about him much anymore because I’ve seriously been THREATENED in anonymous comments on this blog for things that I’ve said (in jest) about Tom Brady in the past. But if you were watching Sunday Night Football last night, perhaps you noticed this yourself.

Before every NFL game yesterday, there was a moment of silence and/or a tribute of some sort to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. At Gillette Stadium, they were launching 26 flares into the sky to honor each one of the people who have lost their lives. The camera hopped around to different players, coaches, people in the crowd—all looking somber, some with wet-looking eyes. Then, cut to Tom Brady.

Dude wasn’t even paying attention, and then HE BLEW AN EFFING SNOT ROCKET. Right in the middle of all of this.

Now, I’m no fan of Tom Brady’s, and I’ve made no secret of that. But I just have to ask—how can you defend that? This man is a father. How can you…? How did he…? I just cannot even…

But I digress. These are just a sampling of the things that have been running through my head since Friday afternoon.

For everyone who lost someone in that school on Friday—whether they were 6 years old or 56 years old—I am just so, so sorry. The nation mourns with them, and many of us struggle to continue on with our everyday lives, too. I had coworkers and friends who drove their kids to school this morning because they could not bear to put them on the bus. For me, I know that I am still lingering longer at Nora’s bedside each night, giving extra kisses, extra hugs, and extra “I love yous.” We know not the pain that these families are experiencing, but we do feel some semblance of it, just in knowing all too well what it is that they’ve lost.

Rest in peace, sweet babies. And to the heroic teachers and administrators… thanks for doing all that you did, and sacrificing yourselves in the process.

 

9 Responses to Silent

  1. Krystie says:

    I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve left a comment, I HAD to step away from the blogging world for a few months to get to know my precious baby boy. Anyhow…I literally have nightmares every single night since Friday. I have no idea how I’m suppose to be okay with bringing my sweet 3 month old baby into malls, into public places without looking over my shoulder and judging every weird looking person. I’m not sure gun control will do much good. Killers will find a way to kill. I’m on the opposite end of now wanting to get my conceal license so I know I have a chance to protect my family. I don’t want that weight on my shoulders but I’d rather be given a single chance to strike back if I ever needed, then to sit still and watch some monster strike the innocent.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Tom Brady is the definition of the word “ass”. I sat there and watched the tribute the NFL did on Sunday night football and was in utter shock that a father could stand there and blow a snot rocket while flares went off for each victim. As if I needed more of a reason to hate him…

  3. Betty says:

    From a long time lurker non-blogger – you have said so much of what I’ve been thinking – the media piece especially – stop telling me things you don’t know for fact – argh and Brady – yeah, not a fan –
    Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas

  4. michellemgd says:

    This is a great post Heather. It is everything I wanted to say but didn’t know how. I’m writing a post from a different angle but would like to link to this at the end of my blog.

  5. My hubby and I were talking about the media this morning (we are both former print journalists, and are glad to be out of the business quite frankly). I sort of agree with you (I especially think no one should have ever put that poor brother’s picture up), but I also think a lot of the fault lies with the law enforcement officials who were feeding the media inaccurate information.

    My hubby was arguing this morning that it’s just the media trying to beat the competition; but I said that regardless of their motives, regardless of the fact that we all know they usually royally mess up facts as a story breaks, we still all watch it. As humans, we can’t help it. We can blame it on the modern 24-hour news cycle, but would any of us want to go back to a day when we might hear of an elementary school shooting in a nearby community and then have to wait for the newspaper to arrive on our doorstep 24 hours later with the details? This column from Poynter on the topic is worth a read: http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/198545/sandy-hook-coverage-is-good-enough-good-enough/

    I don’t so much have a problem with them reporting and then correcting inaccurate facts… what I *do* have a problem with is the constant cameras these people are enduring. No one can even go to the roadside memorial without their grief on display for the entire world. That, to me, is disgusting. I also agree with you that it is absolutely awful for any of those kids to have been interviewed. I cannot imagine why those parents allowed it; I also cannot imagine why a reporter thought it was ok to ask permission. We have no idea the long-term effects of such a trauma on these children, and putting them in the spotlight with an interview they’ll see over and over for the rest of their lives is just unacceptable.

    Like you, this entire tragedy has me questioning a lot of things about our society and has left me with a deep, deep sadness.

    (Sorry to hijack your comments. I think these conversations are good to have.)

    ((And uh, and that’s really disgusting about Tom Brady.))

  6. Kari says:

    1. Watching the media I felt like I didn’t know true from false. At point they said there were 4 brothers (one a victim, one in the woods, one in questioning, then the shooter), then just kidding. I mean SERIOUSLY GET WITH IT. I know in the wake of such a thing it’s hard to get the facts right away..but if you don’t have them..don’t just assume what you hear is correct. It’s obnoxious and ridiculous.
    2. I want to punch parents for having their kids talk about it. And I’d like to punch the reporters who kept grilling the children with questions as they were crying. SERIOUSLY.
    3. Obama made me cry..and I’m not even a big Obama supporter, but I felt like he was talking to the nation as a parent-not as the President. (Does that even make sense?)
    4. I’m not even getting into what I thought of the people protesting in front of the White House that night.
    5. My disgust of Tom Brady grows by the day. What I saw Sunday night solidifies it. He’s a d-bag.

  7. Tara says:

    I cried, no I sobbed, a good portion of Friday. I can’t read one of their stories, eulogies, recaps etc without losing my breath and shedding tears so I’ve made some distances from social networks. The fear that runs through me, just a thought of what these parents & families are going through terrifies me. I, too, have said more “i love yous”, more hugs & kisses and our bedtime routine has gotten a few minutes longer. Kira has picked up on something because mid-playtime she’ll come over hug me, tell me she loves me & will sometimes throw a “you’re fine, mama” in there.

    I know that I am grateful to have my sweet girl safe at home & am sending more prayers/good wishes to these families in this time of tragedy.

  8. rockess says:

    I hope the brother sues the media organizations and wins. Until it starts hitting their pocketbooks, nothing about how things are reported will change. But I also recognize I am guilty of feeding into it. If I hadn’t been at work I would have been glued to the TV watching the speculation. But I would also still have watched even if they just kept saying ‘We don’t know’ over and over and over just out of utter shock over what was happening.

    I am kind of glad that it happened on a Friday and I was then home with my 4 year old all weekend. It gave me something to do, and a reason not to sit around and just watch the coverage and wallow in sadness. The couple times I did see the TV was getting on the treadmill at the gym and I was immediately so annoyed at the reporters (one Saturday wanted to know what the kids were wearing, and yesterday the CNN reporter was GLEEFUL at discovering homes that have the unmarked police cars in the driveways signaling a family directly affected by the tragedy) that I had to change the channel.

    Today was my little one’s first day back at preschool since Friday. I am hoping that when I pick him up he is as blissfully ignorant about what happened as he was when I dropped him off. But most of his classmates have older siblings, so who knows. I just pray that as a nation we have FINALLY learned something from this (and Columbine, and Aurora, and Oregon, etc, etc etc) and that we can manage to have a civil and productive conversation on both sides about how to move forward and keep our kids, friends, and families safe. And get people who need help what they need.

  9. Niki says:

    Yes. Yes, to all of it. Especially the media reporting play-by-plays of non-factual information. Two weeks later it is still all I am thinking about.

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