It's probably not news to anyone that at the time of this post, 26 people were murdered in a Newtown, Connecticut grade school yesterday morning. 20 of those people were little kids. One was a teacher trying to protect her students from the gunman.
The shooter, who I will not glorify any further by naming here, had forced his way into the school. He was a 20 year old kid. It was also reported that he killed his mother and, when he was satisfied with his handiwork, himself. His older brother had to disable his Facebook page when he was erroneously identified as the suspect.
News reports say that the gunman suffered from a personality disorder, which calls into question exactly how the fuck this 20-year-old deranged fucking lunatic was able to get his hands on a loaded murder weapon in the first place. There are extensive background checks for minimum wage jobs at McDonald's, yet this douchebag manages to score an assault rifle? I can't be the only one that sees the epic fail in this.
I found out about the events that occurred late yesterday morning when I logged onto Facebook. I was all set to post about how stoked I was to go see The Hobbit, but I was immediately flooded with status updates about Sandy Hook. Some of my friends admittedly went a little overboard- yes, it was a tragedy; yes, it was sick and senseless and disturbing and horrible; yes, it hit close to home for myself, my family and a lot of my friends (I went to high school about 20 minutes away from Newtown)- but posting news updates and photos and angry rants every five minutes is not going to make anything go away, and will only feed into what this nutjob would have wanted.
(I'm also looking at you, news anchors and media shitstorm. Interviewing parents and even worse, terrified and sobbing children, is probably the most disgusting ploy for ratings I can even imagine. No. Go home.)
One of the most awful parts of this is probably that while this asshole will inevitably be rewarded with a Movie of the Week/feature film/countless magazine covers, in a few weeks no one will remember the names of any of the victims, including the teachers that died shielding their students from bullets.
Some have said that it's too bad that the killer turned the gun on himself, since now none of the victims' families will have the chance to take him out themselves. I'm looking at it this way: I hope the worst is over, and as strange as this sounds, we as a country can look at this in a positive way. Call your friends and family and tell them you love them. Spend time with them if they're located in your vicinity. Do unexpected nice things for random strangers.
Yesterday, inspired by these events, I gave two dollars to a homeless guy and he acted like it was a check for a million bucks. Then, on the way to the movies, I stopped at a pharmacy to get snacks, and paid for the woman behind me since she only had two items in her hand. I didn't even tell her; just let the cashier know that the "next girl was taken care of" and left. I didn't say anything to my brother, either. Was it a huge gesture? No. Her total was like five dollars. However, I felt that with my actions I had just said a massive "fuck you" to a guy that had just murdered a bunch of little kids.
Also, maybe this will help improve the US as a whole, and force a tighter rein on gun control and a better healthcare system which recognizes mental disabilities. I'm not saying this could have been prevented with Healthcare- clearly this dude was severely unhinged- but at least steps could have been taken and at least he could have seen a shrink or something. Apparently there were "warning signs," although emailing people and saying "yo, I'm thinking of shooting up an elementary school tomorrow; don't tell anyone" probably doesn't count as a harbinger so much as a massive fucking RED FLAG. I'm not placing immediate blame on anyone but him; however, maybe if someone had paid closer attention to his distress calls this would never have occurred.
Basically what we have to do right now is pull through this together. Attempt to stay positive and not dwell on the past. Try to return to your normal lives. Eat, sleep, watch TV, go see The Hobbit. Let out your frustrations in any way you can, if you so choose- I've obviously done this in my writing, like so many of us (two excellent examples I've found in the blogosphere of people affected by this tragedy are Christopher from Mixed Drinks & Mixed Feelings and Rainey from A Rainey Day with a Chance of Sunshine- especially poignant because Sandy Hook was her elementary school). Be thankful for what and who you have with you right now, because honestly, they may not be there when you come home tonight.
And to make us feel (marginally) better, here is a basket of tiny puppies.