Having been trained in journalism, I’m usually rather stoic watching the news.  I see the stories, the headlines, but as I’m digesting the news, I’m thinking of how it was covered, what visuals they chose, whether the reporter injected opinion too much, and so on.  I’m as much analyst as consumer, just can’t help myself.  But watching the news of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, this weekend, with tears rolling down my face, I watched through the lens of a parent.  I just could not and still cannot fathom the depth of grief of the families; am struggling with how such a troubled man slipped through the cracks and could be capable of such monstrous violence; and am wondering what we can do to prevent this in the future.  A piece of innocence was stripped away from all of us – kids and adults alike – as the story unfolded.

Whenever we struggle and wonder “why,” we have to ask ourselves…Even if we knew why, would it make it any better?

Some friends asked me if I planned to write about it here, and I honestly didn’t know how or if I should…

But as the story rocked our nation, report after report, there are a few things I did want to share here…

1.  Talking to Kids About Tragedy.  There was lots of talk about this, but my wonderful friends at PEP, the Parent Encouragement Program, had a quick response and a very moving and useful article I wanted to let you know about here, “Helping Your Family Cope with Anxiety and Stress.”  I highly recommend checking this out, and seeing how PEP guides parents to model healthy reactions to stress; to be available and to communicate; to shift the focus from anxiety to helping others; and lots more.

2.  The Heroic Efforts.  I was so moved by the teacher who had students read in their cubbies; by the stories of the unbelievably selfless and heroic respones by first responders and teachers; by the officer who asked the school nurse to close her eyes as he led her out of the building to shield her from the horror; and as I heard first from President Obama’s words at the 12/16 vigil, by the student who said, “I know karate; let me lead us out of here.”

3.  What Can We Do?  I’m not a historian, but as my teenage son said, this right to bear arms in our Constitution was created in a different time, in the 1700s.  Clearly, we need to address gun control & registration.  I applaud Staci Sarkin, who has already started a Gun Control Petition – and plans to deliver it to our lawmakers.  Let’s keep our world safer…

A mom blogger friend, Mastering Mommy Brain, shared the names and birth dates of the victims as published in the Huffington Post from the Sandy Hook Elementary School (Newtown, Ct.) tragedy…lives that ended way too soon…

– Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06
– Daniel Barden, 9/25/05
– Rachel Davino, 7/17/83
– Olivia Engel, 7/18/06
– Josephine Gay, 12/11/05
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06
– Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06
– Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06
– Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05
– Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06
– James Mattioli , 3/22/06
– Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05
– Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60
– Emilie Parker, 5/12/06
– Jack Pinto, 5/06/06
– Noah Pozner, 11/20/06
– Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06
– Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06
– Avielle Richman, 10/17/06
– Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982
– Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56
– Victoria Soto, 11/04/85
– Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06
– Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06

(Source: Huffington Post)

Too many, too young, too senseless.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and friends at this difficult time.