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QUINTESSENCE

The American Story: Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre

The world
was whole because
it shattered. When it shattered,
then we knew what it was.

~ from "Formaggio," Louise Gluck

Dear Friends,
This terrible massacre of school children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, outside Danbury, is still unfolding in its terrible details. I intended an entirely different blog today, but honestly, I find myself welling into tears at my desk. WHY? These innocent children, many of them among the very youngest, are dead. Eighteen confirmed as of this writing, but the numbers seem to keep climbing.

I cannot, as a mother, separate myself from the heartbreak and terror I know lies in the heart of each of the Sandy Hook Elementary families and teachers, their friends and relatives. Elementary schools are among our most close-knit education "families"...a dedicated community of educators, parent volunteers, and part-time librarians, language, art and gym instructors. The mission of elementary school is more than the teaching of learning fundamentals - it is also the encouragement of youngsters in early socialization skills: development of trust and comfort away from home, ease under the direction of unfamiliar adults, feeling safe in large groups. Sometimes the experience of school itself is a huge emotional and mental undertaking for the very young.

And then there are parents, who tremble on that first day and every day after they watch their children walk out the door on their way to school. We, who know our children are for the school day, solely in the safekeeping of others. How will any of us truly comprehend this horror come true - our worst nightmare? While I live in Washington, my own daughter went to school in Connecticut. We have dear friends there. Sandy Hook Elementary is every school. I do not know why this tragedy occurred here, or now. But I pray with all my heart for the families and faculty, staff and first responders. This is not the "American Story" we should be familiar with, but unfortunately, it is now the most common.

It is time to do something about gun control in America. Enough innocents have died at the hands of the violent. It is up to us to stop gun violence, in any way we can.
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