The terrible massacre in Texas is awful for all of us. But for some of us, for teachers like me, it is particularly horrifying.
I taught fifth grade for a decade. My babies were ten and eleven years old. Just like most of the little ones who were slaughtered in Uvalde. I was in charge of a class of kids when the Newtown massacre happened. I know, in the very depth of my soul, how innocent and how promising our children really are. I know too well how deeply they love and how intensely they hope.
Tonight we were watching the news. PBS had extensive coverage of the slaughter in Texas. We watched it all. But at the end of the show, they turned to a roll-call of the children who were murdered. I started to cry, of course. My loving husband stood up and went to the TV.
“Let’s turn it off” he suggested, worried about my emotional state.
Part of me agreed. How would it help to see this? How would my tears make anything better?
But then I caught myself.
“These precious little kids deserve to be fully mourned. They deserve my tears. My pain and sorrow is only a millionth of the pain their parents and grandparents are feeling at this moment.”
We left it on. We saw each sweet young face, each gently smiling child. We both cried, and we both felt awful.
As we should.
I am thinking, at this moment, that our entire nation is in desperate need of a huge, national day of mourning. We do NOT need any more moments of “silence”. Instead, we truly need many moments of rage. Moments of sorrow. Moments of regret.
We need an outpouring of national grief. The kind of deep, soul-shaking grief that is the only proper response to the brutal assassination of our children. We need to close everything down, for a day, or a week or a month. No more work. No more school. No more students sitting quietly at their desks.
We need to take to the streets and open our hearts and our mouths and we need to give voice to the terrible, terrible pain that we Americans are feeling.
“Stop!” We need to scream. “Stop!”
“You cannot keep slaughtering our children just because you want to play with guns! You cannot continue to make your desire to play soldier more important than our desire to raise our children in safety.”
We need to shout. We need to wail. We need to hold a huge, national, public day of sorrow and rage and we need to honor every single life that has been stolen in the name of pseudo macho bullshit.
I am here in my little house, on my couch, sobbing again. Thinking of those kids I taught and those kids whose lives are gone. I’m sobbing and mourning and thinking of the deep levels of terror and survivor guilt and complete confusion that will now envelope every single child who was in the building when the attack happened.
But it’s not enough.
I really, really think that we need a national day of mourning? grief? rage? sorrow? before schools reopen in September.
Anyone with me?