I first heard about the Sandy Hook School shootings in Newton, Connecticut on Twitter at school on Friday. At first I was confused because everyone was confused. What was going on? Who was hurt? How many dead? Are we safe? Once I read enough of the articles under my desk on my phone, I began to piece together information about what happened. I still couldn’t understand it, I still couldn’t fathom it and I don’t think there is a person today who can understand these extremely tragic events. After I was confused, I was angry. I sent out tweets (because that is how expression is formed now; in 140 characters or less) calling for gun control legislation. Today is the day, I thought. To me, those posts were somehow saying don’t let this tragedy be forgotten as all other tragedies seem to fade once the media has chewed them up and spit them out. Let us do something. 

I’m a nanny five days a week after school for two boys; ages 9 and 11. Minutes after I left school I received a text from their mom asking me to try to keep the news off so they won’t hear about the shootings. She instructed me to tell them that she would talk to them about it later if they’ve already heard about it in school. The 9 year old, when he came home, seemed fine and it was only about 20 minutes later when he called to me because when he had pulled up Internet Explorer the CNN home page had popped up and he had seen what most have been even more of a paradoxical situation for him then it was for us: guns and violence in an elementary school. He asked me about it and I told him that something bad had happened and his mom would tell him about it when she got home. He nodded. I looked at him and wondered how safe he would feel entering his elementary school Monday morning; and then I wondered how safe I’d feel entering my high school Monday morning. I looked at him and desperately wanted to explain to him something I couldn’t even explain to myself. 

That night and yesterday night and throughout today I read the news and I cried over and over again. There are no words to explain the horrible tragedy that Newtown Connecticut is experiencing and I won’t attempt to find any.

I make no secrets about my political opinions. When the Second Amendment (otherwise known as the NRA’s absolute defense code) was written I wouldn’t have been able to vote or own land because of my gender and our president was not considered a citizen because of the color of his skin. I think that people should be able to obtain guns in America but I see no problem with it being difficult for them to do so. If Canada has a system where two people most vouch for anyone wanting to buy a gun, why shouldn’t we? If country after country with lower death by gun violence rates imposes stricter gun control laws, why shouldn’t we? If it would save one child or one family from having to experience what the entire town of Newtown is going through yesterday, today, and for many many tomorrows, then who would say no? One of the quotes that has stuck with me while my thoughts have been racing this weekend is this: “I love guns. I have several, but I would gladly get rid of them if it would help prevent anything like this from happening again.” I can’t imagine one parent saying that they wouldn’t give up their guns if it means that their child would come home to them everyday after school. 

And I wanted to share all these opinions with the whole world screaming, “Do Something!” But then I saw something abhorrent occur: a social media war between so- called “friends” belittling and attacking one another based on their opinions. As people insulted Obama, or each other I thought, do you even remember why you are doing this? As people called one another stupid or worse for whether or not a law should be stricter I thought, seriously? As people, alumni from my school, viciously insulted one another with no respect I thought, stop! And I’ve come to the conclusion that in the coming weeks we (politicians and citizens alike) should have an honest, frank discussion about gun control because it is necessary. But not today. Today is about remembering the victims and thinking about their families. So let me end by saying this: if today your insults and unkindness towards anyone’s beliefs are louder than your prayers or thoughts for Newtown Connecticut then please stop. Stop and be grateful that everyone you love came home safely this Friday.