I wrote the post below exactly 24 hours before the events at Sandy Hook Elementary. I took the post down a day later.
I read it now and it sounds worse than naive. It sounds ignorant. Flippant. I cringe at my own ability, just days ago, to laugh at my interpretation of the word intruder as Aunt Rooter.
But it was only last week that this all seemed so unnecessary. It was only last week, I asserted that such drills did more harm than good to young minds. It was only last week. The world was different.
I read this now and it makes my chest hurt. I’m relieved, I’m glad my 5- and 6-year-old children do intruder drills at school, and that’s the saddest statement I can make about parenting in today’s age.
There’s so much noise. So much media repetition, so much trying, trying to explain it, to make sense of it. The noise makes me uncomfortable, it feels irreverent. But hidden in the noise are some good discussions, rapidly taking shape, about gun safety, mental health care, exposure to graphically violent media. There also seems to be a worry that the shock of this will fade with the headlines, but I don’t think so. It won’t fade quickly, not for me, not for anyone I know. Time creates distance, sure, but this will remain sharp in our memories for a lifetime.
So I’m republishing the post below because I want to remember: it was only last week that we could earnestly look our children in the eye and believe ourselves as we told them that they are safe. It was only last week. We can be that way again. Not anytime soon and not without real, complex, difficult change. But life can be like it was, just last week, for our children.
Or maybe it's a fairy tale I'm telling myself. But suddenly, like last week, that reality is unbearable so I choose to hope.