While I was having, what I thought, was a casual chat with an acquaintance, the Newtown, Connecticut shooting suddenly came up. This woman said how the media always says 26 people were killed when in fact there were 28. I sat there a bit dumbfounded wondering what she meant but then it hit me…the shooter and his mother are not counted as casualties. This incensed her. “Where’s the compassion for all?” she said, her voice raised. “That kid was sick and so was the mother who wasn’t strong enough to admit it. Why can’t we cry for them?”
It was 8 in the morning so the last thing I wanted was a passionate discussion since my eyes were barely open, but I didn’t get off that easily. Janet, I’ll call her, demanded my attention.
I took a long pause before answering along with several sips of coffee to stall. I still have pictures of the dead children in my head so I had to really dig deep to dredge up sympathy for the one who took their lives, sick or not. I couldn’t seem to help myself.
I am a very compassionate being by nature so my lack of it in these circumstances not only surprised but concerned me.
I remembered another recent conversation I had about guns. A woman I like very much told me quite matter-of-factly how her father, brother and nephew all have them….have always had them….they’re hunters, she said. Apparently neither she nor they feel the need to alter the gun laws which took me back a bit because I expect everyone I know, and their relatives, to hate them too.
I then thought about the mother who was the one who taught both her sons to shoot keeping her vast collection of firearms right in the house without any thought of what could transpire, a choice that cost her her life.
My breakfast partner was getting visibly impatient with my silence finally slamming her spoon down before saying, “I’m waiting Susannah…you have an opinion on everything…I read your blog, remember…so certainly you have one on this.”
So I said, with a gun to my head…pun intended…
“I want to feel badly for this kid who killed 27 people along with himself. I do. I know he was disturbed and no one did anything to help him fast enough. His mother apparently was in denial that she had a kid this sick ignoring his behavior for far too long…and he, because of mental illness, did the unthinkable. I’m sorry, but I still can’t help feeling numb when you ask me where’s the compassion. Why did she have that many guns in the first place and why is it considered okay to have them? Perhaps if I hadn’t watched the funerals, read the eulogies…or cried along with the families because I did, for days…maybe then my heart could be pried open. I just see all those little faces who, by the grace of God, never knew what hit them.”
She didn’t answer me. She grabbed her wallet, left 10 bucks on the table and took a disturbed leave. I sat there hating myself but had to respect my truth the way it showed its ugly head.
I do hate guns whether they’re used to kill an innocent animal or another human being. I pray often that the NRA along with the powers that be see the light sooner than later…I will say a prayer, that will be admittedly forced, for the late Adam Lanza and his mother Nancy…but that’s the best I can do…
just for today.