The cycle continues of lives being taken suddenly and violently for seemingly no reason. In August, we shared our sentiments regarding the 346 Chicagoans who’d been killed in the first 9 months of this year. That number, which excludes the many shooting victim survivors, now surpasses 400. On Friday morning as I reached to turn the television off from having watched extended morning news coverage, a report came through about a school shooting in Connecticut. As a former educator, my thoughts went to what had always been my worst fear as a teacher – something for which we as educators unfortunately had to prepare – and thus my prayers immediately went to the students and educators at the school not yet knowing the full extent of what was transpiring at the school at that very moment. I put the remote control down and listened while working for the next few hours as the number of victims jumped to unimaginable numbers.
Admittedly, the thought crossed my mind, “for what do we do all of this?” Though no longer in the classroom, my work remains in education and ensuring academic success for students that they are prepared to lead great lives. But why, if at a moment’s notice a life we as a community have worked so hard to ensure will go on to do great things is taken from us? As tears rolled, the answer was revealed – we do it for the survivors. And we do it to honor the victims. And we do it in the face of the perpetrator – that we persevere and survive despite their attempts at the contrary.
So let our kindness, good deeds and warmth surround those who unconditionally loved the victims of violent acts that plague our world that they too, in due time, survive their incomprehensible loss.
We do this in memory of the young people whose lives were refused longevity in Newtown, Chicago, New Orleans, Oakland, Sanford, Jacksonville, Afghanistan, Sudan and countless other locales – that their peers who mourn their lives will be equipped to lead our nation and world into a new era where incidents of violence are only a matter of history.