We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict. ~ Jim Morrison
Sometimes, something happens in the world that sticks in my mind.
I’m a little ashamed to admit that it doesn’t happen very often anymore. I just don’t have the time or energy to become fired up about world events at the moment, at least not the way I used to. I used to read the headlines at CNN every morning before I went to work, and then delve more deeply into the day’s events once I was home again.
On Friday morning, I didn’t look at CNN. I checked my email, I fed and entertained my baby until his nap, and during his nap I wrote a fluffy little post about Rage Fairies, an idea that I’d had floating around in my head for a while. Just before he woke up, I hit Publish.
It was only hours later that the expressions of horror and sympathy that my Facebook friends were posting got through to me, and I finally went to CNN.com to see what had happened.
You know, if Sausage had been a girl, his name would have been Aurora. It’s a beautiful name, I think — classic, but not overused; quite elegant. We would have called her Rory, fulfilling my desire to have a little girl with a boy’s nickname.
It means Dawn. New beginnings, bright colors flashing across the sky, filled with promise.
I’m not going to talk about the event itself, though my vivid imagination has put images before my eyes that have kept me awake the last two nights.
I do want to put in my two cents on the way the parenting community has responded — parents who are apparently completely devoid of empathy or compassion, condemning the parents of the underage victims as if it is their fault that their children are dead or injured. One of the victims was a six-year-old little girl.
I can perfectly well imagine Sausage at six years old. He hero worships his father and is obsessed with Batman. He loves the comics, the cartoons, the action figures. He wants to wear his Batman tee shirt every day, so I have to have enough of them that he can wear one while the others are in the laundry.
I can imagine myself agreeing, against my better judgement, to let Sausage go with his dad to the midnight showing of the new Batman movie, in spite of its rating. He’ll be with his dad, after all, and he’s very mature for his age.
I can imagine myself working for weeks on his costume. Sewing, gluing, pulling out all my screwed up stitches, cursing at the costume, sewing again. In the end … well, it’s a good thing that it’ll be dark out. Sausage loves it, and that’s all that really matters.
I can imagine sending my Loving Husband and my excited son off to see the movie; Sausage is ecstatic about the treat of staying up so late, about spending guy-time with his dad, about being the first of his friends to see such an anticipated movie.
And that’s where I stop. I won’t imagine the rest of it. I can’t bear to.
But I will say to those who think that they can judge the parents who were there, who may now be both injured and grieving; to those who think they have the right to condemn; to those who comfort themselves that their children will never be in danger because they are superior parents: How dare you?
The cruelty and lack of empathy that some people have displayed is astonishing. How dare you attempt to punish people who are already in so much pain? How can you be so cruel?
I won’t link to any sites that are being condemnatory. I don’t want to send any traffic their way, to legitimize what they’re saying with attention.
I do want to ask my readers to please be kind. Send some loving and healing energy to those who are hurt and grieving. This is a time for us to support one another and to exercise our empathy glands.
I apologize if you came to my blog today hoping for something funny to lift you out of your daily grind: I will try to be funny again later in the week. Right now I just don’t have it in me. I need to spend some time hugging my little boy close, knowing that I can’t protect him from the world’s malice. I need to hug him close, and then let him go.
Life goes on. The funny will return. Really. It will.