They Believed Us

They were only babies. Still missing teeth. Still sleeping with fluffy toys.

They were little ones. They trusted the grown ups, as little ones do.

They woke up on that cold morning, just like every other morning in their short lives. “Eat your breakfast,” the grownups said. “It will keep you healthy and strong.” They believed the grownups, so they ate.

“Put on this nice warm sweater,” the grownups said. “It will protect you from the cold.” They put on their sweaters, trusting that the grownups were right.

That was how their lives had always been. “You need this shot, honey. It will protect you so you won’t get sick.” They got the shots, accepting their Mommys’ hugs and trusting that now they’d be safe. They climbed into their carseats. They buckled on their bike helmets.

The grownups promised to keep them safe. The little ones trusted.

They were only babies. They held Daddy’s hand as they walked to the bus stop that morning. They looked both ways before they crossed.

They listened to their teacher. When she told them to wash their hands carefully, and to scrub between their fingers, they did. “It will protect you from germs,” the grownup told them. They believed, and they did what they were told.

That cold morning, like every other morning, they gathered on the rug for morning meeting. They giggled with their friends. They wiggled and squirmed. They sang the Good Morning song.

“Be kind and be careful,” their teacher told them as they played. “This is a safe space for everyone.” They tried to be kind. They tried to be careful. They believed that they were in a safe space for everyone.

When the loud noises suddenly burst out that morning, they were confused. When the screaming started, they looked to their teacher.

She told them to gather together and stay quiet. Their eyes never left her as she ran to lock the door and turn out the lights.

She was a grownup. She would keep them safe. They trusted the grownups to protect them and keep them safe.

They trusted the adults.

But the door burst open, and hell came in the door. The grownup couldn’t keep them safe after all.

They were only babies. But they died in terror and blood and tears.

They were BABIES.


Everyone of us failed these babies. Twenty little children died because we’ve allowed the NRA to buy our representatives.

Click right here to see the faces and names of the little ones who were murdered in their classroom.

Click right here to see how your Congresspeople are rated by the NRA.


A Year Ago

SONY DSCAs I go to bed tonight, my thoughts are all focused on a year ago.

A year ago tonight, I was still innocent.  I was still safe.

A year ago tonight, I went to sleep in a world where first graders gathered in the meeting area to listen to a story, not to die in a blaze of gunfire.

A year ago, I hadn’t yet checked my email while my students were outside at recess. I hadn’t yet read the news from Newtown, learning that a madman had massacred an entire classroom of little ones.  I hadn’t yet recoiled in horror and disbelief, then rushed outside to check on the safety of MY kids.

A year ago, I hadn’t been forced to spend an afternoon with my ten year old charges, pretending that everything was OK.  I hadn’t had to run to the copy room so that I could silently wipe my tears, trying to be strong for the children. I hadn’t yet had to wrestle with what I could possibly say to them to explain the madness.

A year ago, one short year ago, I hadn’t yet hugged my colleagues as we cried and grieved knowing that our last child was safely loaded onto the bus and sent home.

One year ago, I hadn’t yet stopped at the bank, where I failed to remember any of the information for the deposit slip.  I hadn’t yet turned to the woman waiting impatiently behind me t0 try to explain my confusion. “I’m sorry”, I hadn’t yet said, “I’m a teacher…..this was a very hard day.”  A year ago, I hadn’t yet had that stranger embrace me, putting her tear stained cheek on my shoulder. I hadn’t had the bank teller reach out to take my hand. Hadn’t had the man beside me at the counter hug me and say, “I’m so sorry.”

A year ago, I hadn’t yet gotten angry, and hadn’t yet declared that I would fight with every breath to make this country safer for little children.  I hadn’t yet vowed that I would work to bring some sensible, logical gun laws into this insane society. I hadn’t yet promised that I would do whatever I could to take a stand against the NRA.

A year ago tonight, I was still just a teacher in a classroom.

A year ago, one eternally long year ago, 20 mothers hadn’t yet kissed their babies goodnight, never dreaming for one minute that it would be for the very last time.