This is a date I'll never forget.
It's the day my heart broke forever, into pieces I don't think I'll ever be able to be put back together. It's the day 20 small children and 6 heroic adults were gunned down by - well, while I wanted to say "a monster," I really don't think that Adam Lanza was a monster.
I was angry. I was hurt. I am hurting. Not nearly as much as those families in Connecticut, but I'm hurting. I spent all weekend watching the news coverage. I cried. I yelled at the TV. I prayed.
And my anger made me call him a monster. Evil. Satan. Because who else could do such a thing? Who else could look at those children and spray them with bullets, take their lives, take them from their families, steal their futures, kill them?
I had taken the day off last Friday and was shopping with my sister-in-law, her daughter and HER daughter, my little great niece. J called me in the afternoon and asked me if I knew about the shooting, if I had heard any news. Before I left for the mall in the morning I'd heard the schools in Newtown were in lockdown, but there were no details, no mention of a shooting... So he told me. And I could just feel the blood drain from my face. I'm not sure I'd have stayed upright if I wasn't leaning on the stroller.
C came and took the baby from me - she said I was so obviously getting upset talking with J that the baby was picking up on my reaction...
This might anger some people, but I've decided that I don't think Adam Lanza was a monster. He certainly did a monstrous thing. And he did it 26 times. He killed his own mother. But in my heart, in my mind, I just can't accept that he was "just evil." He wasn't just "bad." Something was very wrong with him.
I don't think he planned this. I think this was a reaction to something. I think something "snapped." Yea, I do think it's almost that simple. I think he was sick, so sick that he didn't really know what he was doing. Kill his mom? Sure, I think he could have "snapped" and done something like that in anger, in pain. The murder of his mom, if she said something that just "clicked" in his brain, it's almost understandable that someone could react in anger, in pain, in self-defense. The rest of it, though, I admit, is hard to accept, for lack of a better word.
To get in the car and go to the school and do what he did? This is where I admit I struggle with my feeling that he was sick, that something happened to him that morning. I don't think he was born a mass murderer. I think something happened in his brain, in his heart, something that made him behave in such a horrible, horrible way. He had to be suffering. He had to be hurting. He was so very sick, so "off" that he couldn't recognize his behavior as wrong, as the wrongest he could possibly ever do. And then when the police were arriving, he took his own life.
My Twitter reaction (not really posted) was something along the lines of: "Sure. Want to kill some people? Go ahead, but start with yourself. Make sure you're first on the list."
Yes, there's anger in those words. But today, 5 days, 6 days later, I'm less angry and more hurt and sick and emotional and sorry and overwhelmed... There is no excuse for what he did. No matter the reason, he did the wrongest thing anyone could ever do, take the life of another person. And he took the lives of dozens of people, and what seems to make it worse is the majority of them were 6 and 7 years old. Babies.
I had a sophomore theology teacher who said he thought people who committed suicide should be considered brave, that to actually do what you know will take your own life requires such strength and bravery... It's the first time I can remember arguing with a teacher. I said that someone who does that sort of thing is a coward, that there's nothing so bad in this life that we/you can't face it if you try hard enough. (Ah, so innocent at 15 years old...)
Perhaps killing himself happened not when Adam realized the police were there and he was about to be caught, but perhaps it happened when he realized what he had done and he found he couldn't live with that pain, that guilt... I'd like to think that he came back to himself in that last minute, realized what he had done, and punished himself, took his own life in acknowledgement of the horror he had inflicted on all those poor innocent people.
I know this post is sort of wishy-washy, that I sort of flip-flop from anger to pain, from "he did it" to "he couldn't have done it in his right mind," but I'm struggling with the anger and pain myself, trying to accept what happened, trying to resolve my feelings about what happened...
I support the 2nd Amendment. You and I have the right to bear arms.
I DON'T think that means we have the right (or the need!) to have an assault rifle in a suburban home. If you hunt, you have the right to own a hunting rifle, but I do think you should be licensed, it should be registered, and you should be trained in how to use it. If you feel the need to own a handgun to protect your famuily, your home, your property, okay - but again, I expect you to be licensed, it to be registered, and you trained in its use. But a weapon that can fire multiple rounds of bullets per second? There's no need for one of those because you live alone, there's no need to use one of those to stop that robber...
I'm not opening this post to comments. I know there are readers out there who will want to jump at me about gun control, bigger/smaller government, laws and regulations and enforcement... I'm not in the mood to defend my feelings, so if you feel so strongly that you need to comment, you can email me but I won't be engaged in a back-and-forth on gun control, just know that from the beginning...
I'm off to say another prayer for those being waked and buried today, and for their families and the town of Newtown, CT.