Sunday, December 16: Two days ago, on Friday, December 14, a 20-year-old young man named Adam Lanza murdered 20 first grade children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. He shot his victims numerous times (some had as many as 11 wounds) using a variety of weapons, and he single-handedly left a trail of carnage and heartbreak behind that will take a tragic toll on many lives. He then took his own life, as well as that of a yet-unidentified woman at his home.
My heart breaks at hearing of this tragedy. I can only imagine the horror and the anger that everyone in that community feels, as well as the grieving of my fellow Americans. I can’t help but think of how I felt when I was in America during September 11, 2001, and how I felt when our world was forever altered by that supreme act of cowardice and selfishness. I remember, at that time, my children were young and I feared for their lives. I could only imagine another tragedy following on the heels of that one, such as a bomb or terrorist attack in a school. My children were afraid as well, afraid of going out into the world each day to face whatever new horrors could befall them.
When I think for even one second of the grief and anger the parents of the victims must feel, I can’t help but put myself in their shoes and try to imagine their suffering. I don’t think I possibly can. Yet. I can imagine it to some degree, and that is bad enough.
This is a time when I know it is time for me to come home. I want to be with my fellow Americans, feeling solidarity with them, during this tragedy. I know the world is full of criticism of our country; I hear this criticism every day in my workplace and when I travel abroad. Yes. I know America has its flaws, but it has many strengths as well. I know that now emotions are running high. I know Americans will rally around the Connecticut families, giving sympathy and love that has no bounds. I know the event will become politicized, and heated debates will arise about gun control issues, mental health issues, society plagues. And I want to be in the thick of all that, because I am an American, through and through, and I will never abandon my identity as such. No matter how often I live abroad, I will always be there with my country and its people.
I hope we can eventually fix the problems in America that lead to such tragedies as these. Isolation, scattered & disconnected families, the need to always get ahead and fit in, the push for constant achievement and the feeling of failure when a person can’t quite make it. The anger at not getting enough love, or not having enough friends, or for not simply being loved for who one is, even if one is outside of the mainstream. Something is wrong with a society that makes people feel such desperation.
I am with all of America today, and every day, from afar. I send love and blessings to everyone in Connecticut, and to everyone in America; my heart is with you in the struggle and emotions that will certainly emerge in the coming days. What a sad holiday this will be for so many people.
Peace and blessings to a bruised and heartbroken America.
To see more on this story and to see a heartfelt interview with a father of one of the victims, please see: In Connecticut: Prayers, Grief, Questions And Stories Of Heroism.