Deciding to write anything about the horror of Newtown last week was a struggle. I did not want to add to the media glut, minutiae, and redundancy. Sunday a dear friend who taught small children during his career called. He grieved for the dead children thinking of the many like them he had taught and railed about the obsessive media entertainment such events have become. I won’t spend time here reflecting on what that says about human evolution and the still primitive nature of our brains. That is for another time.
I will say that as I’ve listened to so many who seem at a loss for what to do and consumed with pessimism about the course of humanity, it has occurred to me that there is a need to remind people they can do something.
During some very dark hours, my friend Bonnie firmly pointed me toward thought and action by way of lesson finding. She has always charged me to find a lesson in difficult events and challenged me to make something positive out of unthinkable situations. In my conversations this week, I am reminded that we cannot change what has happened but we can honor the memory of those who died by working to make the changes we want to see in the world.
It is not a simple problem. But the bad will never change if all we at times like this is to sit in disbelief, grieve, and forget. Instead of basing what you believe on media voice bites. Take the time to read and study about the issues related to this tragedy. Make your own informed decisions about what needs to happen. Whether it is stricter gun control laws, changes in mental health treatment and monitoring, or better security at schools–take action. Write to your political representatives. Get involved in groups dedicated to making change. Start doing something.
People complain that change is slow. Often it is. But change will never happen if we wait for others to take up the banner. Learn from Newtown that big changes require a big movement. Whether it is the Newtown tragedy or another issue, consider the role of activism in your life and take a step to be the change you want to see.
My thoughts are with the Newtown families.