I heard it on the radio while I was in my minivan on the way to drop The Babster off at preschool. She was upset because she’d packed her “back pack” full of goodies she wanted to bring (mostly food low enough on the shelves for her little hands to swipe) but couldn’t find when it was time to go.
“Emma, you don’t need your food backpack. Miss Jennifer makes all your food in the kitchen at school, honey.”
“But I want it! I want my backpack!!” she wailed, tiny tears streaming down her impossibly tiny face, her mouth formed in a sideways oval, her tongue vibrating against her tonsils.
Then I heard it. A gunman went into an elementary school and killed 27 people, most of them children. Last I heard there is an entire kindergarten class unaccounted for. I gasped. Did I just hear Bill Handel say “elementary school,” like, with young kids, like…babies? Killed?
I looked at the rear view mirror at my whining baby, and my heart dropped. Some parent got into their mini van today and dropped their child off at that soon-to-be infamous school, just like every other Friday. That parent might have thought, “It’s only 11 days until Christmas. I’ll drop little “Jayden” or “Kylie” off at kindergarten and then do some shopping, maybe swing to the post office and send off those Christmas cards. And then while they were shopping at Macy’s or Toy R’ Us, they get the call that would change Christmas for them forever.
The radio announcer said there’s footage of little children walking out of the school single file, each with their hands on the shoulders of the child in front of them. They weren’t just crying. They were screaming. Children, screaming in terror and grief.
I called my mother-in-law, who lives just a half hour away from the mass-murder site to see if she might have more details on who might have done such a vile and evil thing. Her sound blew out on the big screen television that was blaring little swipes of information in their news reports. I wanted to know who this “person” might be, this evil entity would could be so soulless as to go into an elementary school full of babies and systematically take them out of this world, just 11 days before they were supposed to run downstairs in their little pajamas with the feet, slip along the wood floor to the Christmas tree to all the presents that would await them.
I speculated about who this evil person might be, some mental patient that fell through the cracks with a father in New Jersey who made excuses for his son’s psychosis. I wondered if the future reports will show that some psychiatrist made a recommendation that the shooter be hospitalized but perhaps there was no money, no resources.
I hear the shooter is dead, and I’m not glad. I want him to be alive so he can be dragged through the streets. Guys like these need medieval justice. When the craziest amongst us kills the most innocent amongst us, I have to wonder, just how much good will towards men we have left in this world.