The Death of Innocence
I have always had a somewhat stoic attitude about death. It is something I got from my mother. My mom lost her mother and her father before she was ten years old. Her younger sister died at age three from the flu. She had childhood friends that died before they became adults. She lived through the depression and was a young mother during World War II when many of her friends and neighbors never came home. Her stoic attitude toward death was a way of coping.
I do not take death lightly; I just generally accept it and have a “life must go on” attitude. Some deaths are harder than others to accept. The murder of 3000 people on 9-11 was like that to me. I think it was the completely senselessness of those deaths, and the utter evil that was behind all those murders.
The wanton killing of 20 five-year-olds in a kindergarten class is more difficult for me to remain stoic than any tragedy I can remember. It is not just the deaths of these trusting children, not just the pain and loss to their mothers, fathers, siblings and grandparents; it represents the death of innocence in this country.
We Americans have always had a sense of safety in this land. A sense that we were somehow exempt from the evil we hear about in other parts of the world.
Columbine shook us. 9-11 woke us up. Murders in a theater and in the mall have struck us with fear. The murders today of 27 people, 20 being innocent trusting young children has devastated us. All innocence is gone, evil is around us, and it is here to stay. The slow chipping away of our sense of security is complete. The world has been turned upside-down.
Soon we will have police, searches and lock downs at all schools. We will be frisked at malls, movie theaters and restaurants. Every day will resemble a trip through airport security.
Today we mourn the lives of these beautiful children. We also mourn the loss of innocence of our own children, grandchildren and of our country.
Life will go on, we will survive, we will defeat evil but it will come at a great price. It will cost us our freedom, our security and our innocence.