I don't know what it's going to take to resolve this problem, or if I'll see it in my lifetime, but this is unbearable. I describe myself not as an optimist, but rather as a prisoner of hope, and these events are making it a challenge for me see people as inherently good. They make me wonder what it's going to take to not be afraid for people I know and love.
As an educator, I am always forced to interact outside of my comfort zone. I am an introvert by nature, but my job has let me into the lives of some beautiful people, some of whom wear blue, some of whom wear no uniform at all. They come from from a variety of backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, and I am certain they all deserve equal access to the same right to pursue happiness so long as it does not interfere with somebody else's right to do the same. I understand the anger expressed by the families of the victims and am frustrated that I have no idea what a solution looks like. Ideally, I do, but this is not an ideal world. In an ideal world I am at the front of the classroom, leading a rational discussion about what makes us the same genetically or culturally, and what makes us all beautiful as people. In my world students are forced to listen to stories that are different than their own and are encouraged to talk about what makes them happy and unique. Of course, everybody's in 9th grade in my world. But you know what 9th graders do that many adults don't? They listen. They want to be coached through challenging concepts and they want to understand. Ultimately, they want to be happy, and they don't want to be afraid, and in that way they are no different than anybody else.
I wrote a blog post during our school's lock-down as the events in Sandy Hook unfolded. I lost some Facebook 'friends' that day. I don't know if my opinion is just noise or if I should even care about alienating people with opinions that differ from mine. But a few of these images got me in a way I did not expect and I had to do something I had not done in a very long time. Soon enough my posts will be all cat pics and happy places because that's the bubble I'very created for myself. I have had four former students pass away since January, and life outside of that bubble doesn't get any easier.
Thankfully, a few of these images give me a glimmer of hope.