In the days to come, we will all try to make sense of this tragedy, and we will fail. This was a senseless tragedy.
At the top of our processing list will be attempts to discover how it might have been prevented. The schools should have tougher security. The country should have tougher gun control. The family and friends — and certainly any professional ever associated with the gunman should have seen the signs. This is predictable madness, but it is madness nonetheless. Because this was a senseless tragedy.
We will look for someone to blame. We will sift through the ashes of the murderer’s life with a fine-toothed comb. We will debate the existence of warning signs and argue the finer points of culpability until we’re blue in the face. We will blame the school, the politicians, the parents, the system, “the Devil.” But there is only one person to blame, and that is the person who chose to do the unthinkable.
We can arm everyone from the crossing-guards to the lunch ladies.
We can unarm everyone. Except any person who is determined to be armed.
We can turn our schools into prisons.
Random acts of violence can be mitigated, but cannot be prevented. This was a senseless tragedy.
The only truly meaningful action we can take is to hold on to the cognitive and emotional changes we experience in times of tragedy. Let the changes in our thoughts and feelings towards our loved ones and towards people we don’t even know living hundreds or thousands of miles away – be permanent.
The only meaningful change we can make will be born of our commitment to being responsive, rather than reactive. To continue to care — about our kids; about somebody else’s kids and somebody else’s parents; about our teachers, and principals, and lunch ladies, and janitors; about our emergency responders. We must continue to care about the challenges they face every day; not just when we’re afraid, or when the nation is watching.
Our beliefs, whatever they may be, are the driving force of our existence – impacting our thoughts, feelings, actions. What you believe to be true can touch your soul – and will automatically drive your behavior. Believe as you will about this tragedy, but I recommend believing that people matter every day — and that love is an action word.
In the aftermath of devastation, we vow to “never forget” but we do. We always do. And that is the greatest and most senseless of tragedies.