December 17, 2012

Heavy Skies



It’s been a hard few days to keep the chin up. I’m still in a sort of stunned state, unable or unwilling to read or listen to much of the news. It’s too much to stomach. Too much to bear. As you know, I have a 6 year old. He’s in kindergarten. This is him at the beach over Thanksgiving.

I’m desperately in love with him, and so every ounce of me fights internalizing this horror. I know that every parent who lost a child loved him or her with the same amount of heart. And so it doesn’t compute. It can’t compute. It shouldn’t compute. I don’t want it to compute. And yet, I know that it happened. And so I am so terribly sorry.

It’s really easy to walk into my son’s school. There isn’t a guard at the front door. There aren’t metal detectors. I’m supposed to sign in and get a name tag, but I often don’t bother. No one seems to mind. I wish we could live in a world where that would always be okay. I wonder if it will be harder to get in on Monday. I both hope and don’t hope so.

It feels somewhat sacrilegious to get political. It also, in a way, feels sacrilegious not to. For how else can we honor those whose lives were ruthlessly, cruelly and unfairly taken then to have some sort of societal change.

This is my younger boy at the same beach. He’s only 2 1/2. He’s sweet as that peppermint and chocolate popcorn I recently discovered at Whole Foods and of late have been devouring. Why do guns even exist in his world?

We need a better health and support system for the mentally ill. Yes. And that requires more funding not less for quite a few social services. But first and foremost, we need way tighter regulations on guns. And we need to throw assault weapons into the pit of Tartarus. There’s no reason they exist on the streets. We need to stop fetishizing violence in games and movies, even in songs. This isn’t a call for curtailing free speech. It’s a call for greater self control on the part of artists and some kind of self-imposed morality in the marketplace. And I think we need tighter local communities, where we are there for each other, where we know when people near us are suffering or are unstable.
We need to keep our chins up more, I suppose.

With a heavy heart, from under a big and heavy sky,