My Thoughts During the Newtown Shooting

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I wrote the following last Friday afternoon. I work from home so was glued to the TV and social media during the time that my kids were at school. Thinking back on it, and maybe it seems selfish now, but I was focused on Max. But that’s what made the whole ordeal so awful for all of us, right? Knowing now that it truly can happen anywhere, to anyone. It doesn’t just happen to adults, it happens to children. My heart is broken for those parents who lost their children, whether they were 6 years old or 30 years old. Their lives changed forever and nothing can take that pain away. But life had to go on in our house over the weekend. We baked Christmas cookies and put Ben in time out after several epic tantrums but it was always under this cloud, this haze. My boys are young so we didn’t talk to them about Friday’s events at all, so to them, it was just another weekend. But for all of us adults, there was a piece of us missing…a piece we didn’t even know was there in the first place.

 Please remember, I wrote this on Friday before all the details were final so there may have been changes to the actual events since then.

Friday, December 14

As I’m writing this I’m sitting here watching the news learning more and more horrifying details about the school shooting in Newtown.  They are talking about how they found almost a whole room of kids locked in a closet. They were ushered in there by a teacher or ran in there to hide. I feel sick to my stomach about the whole ordeal, and what makes me the most upset is thinking about Max.

Over and over I keep wondering what would he do in that situation? He’s in kindergarten like these kids were. Would one of the kids take charge if an adult wasn’t able to? If it were Max’s class would any of them know enough to hide in the bathroom in the classroom or go out the door to the playground?  I keep picturing Max paralyzed by the chaos. He doesn’t deal well in busy, chaotic situations . When there is too much noise or commotion, he spaces out. He freezes. He just sits there with a blank look like he’s lost. While no kid can ever be prepared for a situation like this, I just think he would shut down. I envision him just sitting at his work table with his hands over his ears, unable to move even at the urging of his classmates and god-willing his teachers. If he didn’t move, would the other kids give up on him or would they adopt the military attitude of “no man left behind”?

And what about the kids who can’t run — those kids in wheel chairs or with leg braces or simply poor motor skills. What do they do? Do they not get out as quickly as the others? Does a teacher or aide think immediately of them and try to get to where they are?

And the principal. Oh my gosh the principal who had the where-with-all to flip the switch to the PA system and alert the teachers that the school was in danger. She is a hero. She is a soldier. She gave her life to protect others.

I cannot begin to imagine what the teachers were feeling or going through. My hands are shaking writing this because my heart is broken for all of them, for the whole town. This is MY state, it isn’t Colorado or Virginia. This is MY son’s age group and class level no less. This hits a close to home as I hope I’ll ever experience.

4 comments on “My Thoughts During the Newtown Shooting”

  1. Isn’t it funny how we all feel the same horror and sadness yet also feel differently when we put ourselves and our kids in the situation. After the fact, I kept thinking, what if Big had been evacuated to that firehouse without his epi-pen and some kindly volunteers gave the kids cookies and he had a reaction? Would anyone have even been available to save him at that point? Just another level of terror.

  2. We had a similar weekend. I didn’t tell the younger two but felt the need to speak with my oldest afraid the kids on the bus might talk. I wanted her to know she was safe and loved. I have played with the idea in my head on whether to teach them what to do in a situation like this. Like you, I wonder how they will react. Would fight or flight reflexes kick in? Should they know to lay down and play dead? I don’t think we will ever know the right answer to these tough questions which only adds to the fear.

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