There is so much grief we all have been feeling since Friday morning, when news broke that a 20-year-old man broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown and slaughtered 26 people, including 20 children.
Since Friday afternoon, when I heard the news while substitute teaching in, of all places, an elementary school, I have been obsessing about this story. Reading everything I can about those beautiful children (two of whom are above). Reading everything I can about the monster who did this, and his mother, and trying to make any kind of sense of it.
I am angry and sad and horrified and fearful and everything else you all are feeling, but Sunday, I felt good for a few hours.
A long-planned day with a 7-year-old made me feel better. My nephew had never done the Manhattan holiday tourist bit, and so my fiancee, my sister and I showed a boy who knows nothing of what happened Friday some goodness in the world.
We looked at the Macy’s windows and smiled. I marveled at his smile upon seeing the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, and the famous skating rink up close.
And seeing him at FAO Schwarz, walking among the giant stuffed animals and the piano from “Big” and the Lego stuff, each few steps bringing about new wonder, was a tonic for my soul.
Nobody his age should ever, ever, ever have to deal with what those kids at Sandy Hook Elementary did. It should always be about robot helicopters and hackey-sacks and 200-trick magic sets.
But it’s not, and that’s unspeakably sad. For a few hours, though, I got to see what a 7-year-old’s life should mostly be about:
**I thought President Obama gave a pitch-perfect address Sunday night at the Newtown vigil. Now, follow it up. Push for tighter gun control laws. Stop cutting funding for mental health care in this nation; fund it in the extreme at the school and hospital levels.
Words were beautiful. Now show me action. You’re a second-term President holding your last public office. Show us some action.
**Finally, here’s something that will put a smile on your face today. A police officer in Plano, Texas, at a traffic stop, gave a man $100 the other day.
There is still so much good in the world. Never forget that.