The first blog I ever posted, before they were called blogs (AOL has since removed it), was the day after a local tragedy in the Kansas City area. Three teenage girls, who went to my old high school, were killed in a car accident. I still remember their names, Amanda Bush, Alana Winn and Jennifer DeFranco. Three girls I never met. I was just a couple of years out of high school, so it hit pretty close to home. I ended up posting some of my thoughts online. A day or two after the accident, one of their sisters came into the Kinko's where I worked, to make necklaces that would contain her sisters’ picture. I gave them to her for free, and then showed her the site I had put up. She left a comment, which I’ll always remember. Columbine happened almost exactly a year later. And I went to the web again. A few days later a survivor was generous enough to stop by my site and post a comment, which was truly humbling.
There have been countless tragedies since, and there will be countless more, enough to drive us all to the edge of sanity. My wish is that we get close to that edge, and find the strength to move away from it. That all this senseless pain turns into something positive. And that can only happen if we open the lines of communication. It's not necessarily “politicizing” an issue just because you want to talk about it. There’s a time and a place for all conversations, but that doesn't mean that time or place is going to be overwhelmingly comfortable for everyone.
Adults, supposedly, are able to talk about the tough issues. These are the times when we should stop the name calling, or silly comparisons (planes were used on 9/11, should we ban planes) and voice our concerns. Share our hopes and our fears and, most importantly, listen to those who disagree. Put our politics aside, and put our children first. There’s no easy fix here. But if the senseless death of 20 children isn’t enough to convince us to at least consider every imaginable and unimaginable, idea on the table, then we’ll never do it. And then we’re all, at least somewhat, to blame.