1:50pm, December 14, 2012: "Hey--I can't remember where you're from in CT, but if you know anyone from Newton, I hope they're safe."
Right away, I knew there was another shooting.
My heart stopped and I held my breath as I tried to think of where Newton was on the Connecticut map. My voice shook as I called to my mom- "Do we know anyone from Newton?"
I hadn't heard the news yet. Hadn't been on any social networks or turned on the TV. We were busy celebrating with our friend the day before her wedding. I was able to breath again when my mom said that no, we didn't know anyone from Newton. I texted my friend back and asked her what happened. My mind could not have fathomed what she would soon reply.
A shooting. At an elementary school. 18 children (so far) and 6 adults dead.
As a future teacher, I know the importance of being okay for your students. A few weeks ago at the school I'm student teaching at, a student had a seizure. I was so scared, but I had to put on a happy face for my students so they weren't scared. I had to tell these 60+ students that everything was okay, distract them, and make sure they were safe while the other teachers took care of the student having a seizure.
Now multiply that times a million.
This morning as I was reading about everything, I read accounts of teachers playing games with their students as they hid in corners, trying to lighten to mood. Can you imagine? Games. As these adults are fearing for not only these children, but their own lives, they're playing games in order to keep the mood light and help the children from panicking. Other teachers smiled and told the children to pray as they locked them in closets, bathrooms, cabinets, anywhere to keep them safe. They put their 20+ students' lives ahead of their own.
They're heroes. Absolutely heroes.
Connecticut has always been a place of safety to me. It's where I grew up. It's where I, as an innocent child, would walk around my neighborhood without a fear in the world. We didn't even lock our doors most of the time we went out! I read one article that called it, "The Safest Place in America."
I remember when the shooting in the movie theater in Colorado happened, everyone would say, "No where is safe anymore." But an Elementary School? What is the world coming to?
My heart goes out to every family affected by yesterday's events. Every child who had to hear the gunshots and the screams, the neighbors who heard the sirens, the families who didn't know if their child was safe or not.
And to every mother and father who has one less child to hold tonight. It shouldn't have to happen like this. You should not have to outlive your own child. There are no reasons, no words that can make this any easier. You are in my prayers. May God bring you peace.