Twenty five years ago, I was celebrating my 21st birthday with my college roommates. However, I received a call from my dad that abruptly ended the celebration. My cousin and her three young daughters had been murdered by their father; one of them in the arms of her grandmother who was trying to protect her. He had purchased a gun in Seattle and then drove down to Oregon and shot them in their front yard. The oldest had just come home from her first day of kindergarten.
My dad picked me up from my apartment, and we drove down in silence to my great-grandmother’s house. The extended family was gathering to be together and to try and understand what had happened. Twenty five years later and I’m still not sure any of us understand. Can you ever really understand something like that?
Today, an eighteen year old kid murdered twenty-one people in an elementary school, and those memories have flooded back to me. I can remember that night like it was yesterday. As I try to process this horribly tragic event, I am sickened by my emotions. They aren’t the emotions that I should be feeling. I’m not feeling anger; I’m feeling resignation. I’m feeling a disappointment in myself because I cannot muster the outrage that the murder of children should evoke.
I don’t want this to be normal in the world I live in. But I find that anymore I simply feel helpless. I know that deep within I still have intense feelings of anger, but over and over and over and over again that rage runs headlong into the hopelessness. It just hurts too much.
We should be better. But we aren’t.
I’m sorry Sarah, Rachel and April. We keep letting you down.