Saturday, 15 December 2012

Newtown: Kindness has to be enough

On this cold and crisp December day, we took our dog for his walk, grateful for the peace, grateful for the silence. It's hard seeing the paper today with the front page photo of children, eyes wide shut, being tugged along on a rope to the nearby firehall.

There is no peace in Connecticut today, just tears and questions. The children who died are not much older than my infant granddaughter; they were just a bunch of kindergarteners making lists for a Santa Claus visit that would never come. Some of the parents of Newtown went home last night with their little ones in tow. They were the lucky ones. The others went home alone with no child to tuck under the covers.

So sad and senseless that the bogeyman pays a visit to the decent people of these small towns with hopeful names, Littleton, Newtown. How does the bogeyman choose which town, which school, which victims?

Random. It's just random.

Tragedy played over and over again on CNN yesterday, with reporters asking ridiculous questions, questions like: how could this have been prevented? what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen again?

There was lots of talk of gun control.  It's just talk, of course. Many Americans will be gun-toting today. It's their right. Their constitution says so.

In other quarters, soothsayers like Dr. Drew Pinsky are calling for Americans to be vigilante, to report any neighbors who might be mentally ill, who might have personality disorders.

That's just silly. What does he expect people to do? Lock up all the people with personality disorders? You might as well shutter Fox News right now.

It's damned hard to spot a killer in your midst. I'd say it's damned near impossible.

There is a truth here, and we all know it.

We can't prevent Newtown or Dawson College or Littleton. Most mass killers have no criminal record, just a history of keeping to themselves. And that, last time I checked was not a crime.

If police could somehow track who's buying what kind of armory, maybe that might make a difference. It's a big challenge with the Internet. Besides, most of these killers are smart enough to buy from various sources. And unlike known criminals, they almost always buy legal.

There's no point dwelling on the why.

The why will be carried to the grave by the killer.

And we can't bring these children back. They are irreplaceable.

What we can do, each and everyone of us, is perform one little act of kindness in their memory. Buy a toy for a child in need. Volunteer to serve Christmas dinner to the homeless. Offer to help an elderly neighbor shovel her walk for the winter.

And carry kindness in our hearts always.

This might sound silly, but it's better than harboring anger towards a man who know longer walks among us.

In the face of this sort of tragedy, kindness just has to be enough.


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