Over a week ago the Sandy Hook tragedy happened and there have been so many wonderful, insightful, intelligent posts and articles about it. I don’t think my post will fall into any of those categories, but it doesn’t have to either. I just felt the need to finally put some of my thoughts into words, because I’ve been thinking about it a lot. Maybe due to the media coverage, even though I hardly watched any news about it and I didn’t read all that many articles or posts about it online.
The ones I did read still make me speechless and they make me cry and they make me angry and they make me… a lot of things. Even though I have no reason to be more affected by this than by any other of the mass shootings that happened in recent years. I’m not a Mom, there are no small children in my immediate family or circle of friends. I don’t live in the US. I do have friends working in elementary schools here in Germany, but that’s as close as any relation to this tragedy that it gets.
I guess it’s the fact that they were only 6-7 years old that makes me care so much. And the fact that those teachers and school workers sacrificed their lives to protect their students. That could have been one of my friends over here.
A few days after the shooting Morgan Freeman allegedly posted on Facebook that we shouldn’t remember the shooters name and that the news shouldn’t report about it and so on. It turned out to be fake but at the same time via Mel at Stirrup Queens, I read about Julya’s (Dyke in the Heart of Texas) challenge to remember the lives lost instead of the name of the one who killed them.
It made me remember the Aurora shooting and even more the two mass shootings at schools that had taken place here in Germany in 2002 and 2009. The identities of the persons who died at those were never really made public, I think because German privacy laws prevented that. And I’m neither asking for nor expecting that to change here in Germany and that’s not my point anyway.
When I talked to some folks here a few days after the shooting they were appalled that photos of the children were all over the news and they considered it a breech of privacy and typical tabloid and sensationalism news stations doing. But I disagreed and still do, at least to some extent. Yes, those families and neighbours and friends shouldn’t be pressed for news or interviews in their time of mourning. But I still think that it’s a good thing that we know something about those who had lost their lifes and even if it’s just the name and age.
The thing is, that I do remember the name and face of at least the shooter from 2002, because he was all over the news later. But I did not even remember how many lives were lost in either of the tragedies. And I was and still am wondering why I don’t remember it. I think I did care about it at the time it happened and even though I rationally know that I can’t remember every tragedy or every life lost everywhere, I still felt bad about that. And Julya’s challenge made me want to change that, because those lives lost deserve to be remembered by more than just their immediate family. And they deserve to stay in our minds much more than the name of the shooter.
So I pledged to remember one of those children as well and I will. In fact I do whenever I read or hear about the shooting or any news that relate to it. I thought about writing a short post about who I will remember, but decided against it, because I’m not sure if the family would be ok with it. I’m not sure if I’d be ok with it, if I were in their place and that’s always my rule. My dad died when I was 14 and I’m not sure if I’d be ok if someone who didn’t know my dad at all would write a blog post about him for everyone to read. But I would be ok if someone who didn’t know my dad personally would still remember him fondly because of what he knew about him. If that makes any sense to anyone. Anyway, I will remember one of those kids for as long as I remember anything. That’s my pledge.
Even though I’ve lost loved ones before I can’t imagine what those families are going through at this time of the year especially. I’ll be thinking of them a lot over the next few days and hope they will be able to find a least some kind of consolation in knowing that they are not alone in this.