Tragedy and Choices

When you involve weapons, death, and the rights of the people in the United States you are bound to get many opinions.

I still remember where I was the day 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook were killed in cold blood.

I don’t think it’s a story I’ve told to a lot of people.

I was having lunch with two friends at a local tea house and we were sipping hot tea and having spinach salads and flaxseed crackers and Welsh Rarebit.  One of my dear friends was in town from the East Coast and the other other friend and I hadn’t had a chance to catch up in awhile.  We were talking about all the things that invade our lives and cause us frustration or celebration and then turning to fresh, warm scones with clotted cream and lemon curd to make it all a little more palatable on our minds.

Our phones started flashing with notifications.  The Wall Street Journal.  Yahoo! News.  National outlets that were suggesting in very concisely written copy that someone had gotten into a school in a Connecticut town and shot many people.  Numbers were all over the place on how many, as it usually is in a breaking news situation.  We left lunch that day thinking our frustrations were so simple to what was going on at that moment in the world.  I remember driving to pick up my son from daycare with tears teeming at the corners of my eyes for the children I didn’t know who were injured or dead.  My phone continued to ping with notifications.  Updates on numbers.  I called my husband I think, saying… can you imagine this happening to our son when he was in kindergarten?  I was shocked.  Appalled. And thinking how horrific is this monster who must have done this?



Photo Credit: Associated Press

I went into work the next day and it was the lead story.  It was all we talked about– the amount of young children killed, staggering.  Sandy Hook is one of many shooting massacres that I’ve had to cover in some way during my time in news, sadly.  I remember the day the Columbine story came across the Associated Press wire in the radio newsroom I was working in during my spring break from college.  Fast forward nearly 13 years and there I was pregnant one very early morning and sitting on the news desk as reports started coming in over Twitter that a gunman had gone into a Colorado movie theater and gone on another shooting rampage.  In that situation, one of my college roommates was inside the theater and was lucky to get out without being hurt or killed.

Today– I’m looking at the headlines from Chattanooga.  Five service members dead.  A man with plenty of room for “extra ammunition” responsible.  There’s a ban on military members carrying guns in military recruiting offices, which wasn’t really a topic of discussion before now.  And given the two facilities this man targeted last week, now it is.

What choices are we supposed to make in the wake of tragedy?  Are we to arm teachers or staff in schools?  Arm military men and women who are not in combat but simply recruiting other men and women to join the service?

Our phones will continue to ping.  These tragedies will continue to happen.

And there’s one other truth– the debate over what’s best in these scenarios won’t be solved anytime soon.