As reports of another mass shooting were reaching people on the West Coast, I think that I was not the only one experiencing shock and disbelief. Oregonians are still trying to make sense of the tragedy that happened at the Clackamas shopping mall–only a quarter of a mile from my children’s school. And now another shooting–this time at an elementary school. Somehow, when senseless violence is directed at a random group of people, it seems easier (but not easy!) to handle this emotionally than when it is focused, concentrated, and specifically targeting children. I must admit: I find myself utterly unable to make any sense of this latest act of unspeakable evil.
When people are faced with such overwhelming and difficult emotions, it is natural for them to try to do something. Bloggers will blog, facebookers will update their stati with stuff like “Re-post if you….,” school principals will review their schools’ safety principles, and politicians will politick. I wanted to write something, but things like “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” while certainly reflecting how I feel, do not seem relevant or somehow enough. Instead, I really want to explore a phrase in President Obama’s speech which caught my attention. The President called for “meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.” (more…)