I didn’t sleep very well on Friday night. To be honest, I was up until 1 am, in bed, watching news coverage of the tragedy in Aurora (probably not the smartest thing for me to do).
These kinds of senseless killings definitely shake me to the core. It’s really hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that a young man can go SO COMPLETELY off his rocker that he is compelled to go on a killing spree, ending the lives of innocent people.
It freaks me out. A lot.
I know that the media is going to try and explain James Holmes’ to me, and will come up with a thousand different theories about his possible motives. But despite all of the professional explanations and shared “expertise,” in my heart it still won’t make any sense, or give me comfort in a “oh. Now I get it,” kind of a way. Because it is all terribly complicated, and there are some things that are just soulfully inexplicable.
While I was watching the news, Emmy was in bed with me, totally submerged in a deep slumber. Her face was perfectly peaceful, so blissfully unaware of the craziness in this world. I kept looking away from the t.v. set to watch Em sleep, and then turning from her sleeping face back to the horrors on the television.
My daughter is blessed with the innocence of a twenty-one month old. Her world is made up of stuffed animals that talk in funny voices, rides on dada’s shoulders, and happy music that encourages her to clap her hands and dance in circles. She has no reason to worry, because mama and dada are here for her, and will kiss her boo-boos, guide her away from danger, and hug her whenever she feels scared.
But how long do we have before the innocence fades? How many years before Em comes home from school, or from one of her friends’ houses, with a story about a mean person who did bad things? How long before she starts asking questions about things she hears adults talking about, or news stories she overhears?
I wish I could keep my daughter in a little bubble of innocence. I wish I could make it so that she would never have to experience adult-sized fear or sadness or anxiety. I really wish I could somehow give her a life in a world that has no such thing as senseless killings.
But of course I can’t. All I can do, as a mama, is be there for Em when she realizes that the world is not all rainbows and Elmo. All I can do is hold Em’s hand as her scope starts widening, and she starts taking in the totality of the world around her. All I can do is listen to her, and talk to her, and try to explain things to her, but also let her know that sometimes things happen in the world that are simply inexplicable.
P.S. One of my high school friends, Ben Coccio, directed what I think is a stellar film, Zero Day, about two high school students planning an attack on their school (directed in the wake of the atrocity in Columbine). The film does a phenomenal job showing the multidimensionality and complexity of the situation, and is totally disturbing in a very sensitive, very amazing way. I would highly recommend it to everyone.