In about an hour, my wife and I are going to leave our house and go watch my son in his school's holiday program. My boy (whom many of you know personally), at 7 years old is already a lapsed Catholic, but for some reason H.I.S.D. has him singing a Kwanzaa song tonight. I'm not entirely sure how that happened.
At the end of the program, he'll come home with us to our house. Our Christmas tree is up. Lights are on the stair railings. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care. The holiday season brings palpable excitement at the Newman house. It is usually a very close race between me and the Boy over who gets more giddy about Christmas. He's in 1st grade. I'm 40.
I can't stop looking at the television and the news today.
In Connecticut, there were at least 20 sets of parents eagerly anticipating the holiday season with their children. Their five and six-year-olds probably had only one more week until their eagerly anticipated two week Christmas vacation. Remember that feeling you had about Christmas vacation when you were a kid? You treated it like a paid vacation that you had been working for since you showed up at school in August.
The Christmas holiday is pretty much the biggest deal going on in a 5-year-old's mind right about this time of year.
And then something like today happens in Newtown, Connecticut.
There is such an urge to call the person responsible for what happened today every name in the book -- Sick. Coward. Monster. In the end, he took his own life, but for the rest of the us, he can never be dead enough.
The media is all over it with their usual cliches. Varying sides of the political spectrum are inexcusably using today's events to further their agendas.
The reality is that there is no answer to why this happened. It didn't happen because gun control is too lax and it didn't happen because the Government allegedly took God out of school.
It happened because we live in a dark world that becomes increasingly darker by the day.
From Charles Whitman in Austin in 1966 to James Huberty in San Ysidro in 1984 to Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris at Columbine in 1999, it has been well established that even the most benign event can turn into horrific tragedy at the turn of the dime. The ability for a human to do so much harm to a child defies all logic. Children killed before they understand what the concept of death even is.
That will only increase with time. No amount of legislation can change a damn thing about it.
So, what's the message here?
The message is cherish your life. More importantly, cherish your children. Hug them. Squeeze them. Hold them tight. Pray constantly for their well-being.
I cannot begin to fathom what is happening in the homes across Connecticut tonight. Quite frankly, I don't want to.
I just know that tonight, I'm going to my hear my boy sing a Kwanzaa song and after the show, I'm going to hug him, squeeze him, and hold him tight. After he goes to bed, I will pray that he lives a long and happy life that far exceeds mine.
And then I'll probably sit down on the couch and have a drink and wonder how the families in Connecticut could go on after something like this. Honestly, I don't think that I could in their shoes.
And I'll thank God for all the blessings that I have in my life.
My thoughts and prayers are in Newtown, Connecticut.