Friday, December 14, 2012

Dead ends

My youngest cousin has graduated from college. He finished school and moved home, at loose ends for a while, trying to become an environmental journalist in an environment hostile to (print) journalists. He managed to get an internship at the Sierra Club in San Francisco, CA, which I believe he will start soon. Unless he's already started. I'm excited for him, and I can't wait to see what he does with his adult life.

My youngest cousin is from Newtown, CT. He has an amazing adult life in front of him, because he was not shot and killed when he was five, or six, or seven. He went through his entire childhood without once being brutally murdered for no apparent reason by a total stranger. I hope he goes through his entire adulthood the same way.

My second youngest cousin is his brother, also from Newtown, CT. He has been an adult for some years now, and is happily living in New York with his girlfriend. I don't know quite what he does, since he's in the big blank world that I do not understand called Business (or is it called Finance? Banking?), but he has an independent, adult life that he enjoys, because, as a child, he was not brutally murdered for no apparent reason by a total stranger.

Their parents, my aunt and uncle, still live in Newtown, CT. My aunt teaches at Sacred Heart, and gave a final exam today before she knew how bad things were. My uncle is a pediatric pulmonologist at Danbury Hospital. According to my aunt, he went to the hospital as part of their emergency response team, but they didn't have much to do. Because there weren't wounded people, for the most part. The children and the adults who were shot were nearly all dead before they could be taken to the hospital.

Before today, Newtown, CT was unheard of. The center of town in Newtown is the flagpole. There are more UCLA undergraduates than there are residents of Newtown. Now, Newtown is on the map,  because children died there, violently, needlessly.

Do you know who else lives in Newtown, CT? Suzanne Collins. She's the author of the Hunger Games trilogy. You know, those books about children dying violently, needlessly. It's not ironic, but it's eerie. I can't help but think of those fictional children, since I don't know the names or faces of any of the real children.

This isn't any kind of reasoned argument. This is a list of statements, because I am beyond thinking. Children are dead. Adults are dead, at least some of whom died trying to protect those children. None of this had to happen. All of it did happen.

I talked about weeping blood in my last post. I would cry tears of blood every day for the rest of my life if I could undo this. Painful, burning tears. That would be no price at all to pay.

I can't think of anything else to say. Zilpha Keatley Snyder wrote the Green Sky trilogy over thirty years ago. These children died before they were old enough to read it. That breaks my heart. Read it, please, to your children, or to any children you know. Teach them about corrosive violence. If they live long enough to hear you.

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