On hope

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Much has been written in the past few days about the tragic elementary school shooting in Connecticut. As a journalist, I could probably write a long commentary on the facts of this event, the inaccuracies in the reporting, and the fall out from those inaccuracies. But as a teacher, my heart immediately kicks in and sees this event from the perspective of an educator. 

On Friday, my CNN browser (which is always open at school) alerted me that there had been a shooting at a school in Connecticut, and that there were at least two injuries. Sadly, I clicked right past it, thinking it was sad, but looking for other news. By the time I clicked on CNN again at the end of my third hour class, the headline MASS KILLING was sprinkled all over the page. My heart immediately flew in to my throat as I thought about those involved. 

This situation is one that, as humans, we can all relate to. Maybe you're a parent of a young child, and thought about the parents of the school descending on that fire house, waiting for their children to come running out. Maybe this reminded you of another tragedy we've seen on TV, whether it was another school shooting, or something like 9/11. Maybe, like most people, you're just a human, and so that is why it hit so close to home. For me, it's being a teacher and imagining this situation in my own school that was so troubling. 

I teach on the second floor of our school in an interior classroom with no access to the outside. Our classroom doors have a window pane directly next to the door handle. We have a protocol in place and have practiced lock down drills within our school. And yet, I spent most of my prep period on Friday trying to figure out what I would do to keep my kids safe in the event of an emergency. I don't think my plan is fail proof, but it's a semblance of something I could hold on to. 

I thought about my students... 16, 17, 18-years-old with their whole lives ahead of them. And then I thought about the poor babies in that school... the ones who wouldn't know to run, wouldn't have any way to protect themselves, wouldn't, perhaps, realize the danger right around the corner. I want to believe those who passed didn't know what was happening, that they did so peacefully. And I want to believe that anyone affected by this tragedy will find peace and healing over the next several days, weeks, months, and years. But I just don't know if they will. 

There are so many injustices in this world, so many sad, terrible, preventable things. There are too many tragedies, too many lives lost way too young. But we have to have hope. There has to be hope for the future, for common decency, for the world, and for wonderful things to start happening. 

I still hope that there will be a day when peace is attainable around the globe. I realize this may be naive, but I'm okay with that. Because, to me, it's worth it to have hope. 


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