To the Editor:Words flow. But, they are not words such as love, accomplishment, civility or caring. They are words like horror, grief, appalling sadness, disbelief, and so many others of question. Susan Engle, a professor of psychiatry at Williams College recently wrote an article in the New York Times titled “When They’re Grown, The Real Pain Begins,” in which she addressed the fact that our children are our children forever, and just as we think the empty nest will bring some relief, the outside world will be even more challenging. And, as parents, we are always parents, no matter the age of our children. And, yes, we do “wear our hearts outside our bodies,” as the President so deeply expressed in his eulogy to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, on Sunday evening.
So many opinions on gun control and so many expressions of what we are as a country, where massacres can take place in a split second, will never be away from any of us now. But, children, all our children, as they were in Newtown, crosses a line and asks the question, “Where are we safe?” Mostly, “Where are our children safe?” We think we protect them (and still people say not to protect too much). We monitor their lives as much as possible without being too intrusive or frightening them as little kids, but then a deranged person comes along and kills children, which puts a whole new dimension on our society that confounds us all.
As a grandparent, I worry about my grandchildren every day. I pray for their safety, just in general. Whether in high school, college, or elementary school, I fret and anguish about the world out there and the dangers and cruelties they will encounter, and yes, I want to protect them. Their parents are amazing people who teach them, talk to them, love them to death. But, in one instance, Newtown could become “Anywhere, U.S.A.” I don’t think any parent or grandparent should have to think about this. But, unfortunately, it is a reality. All we can do now is hope for some of our lawmakers to stop thinking about themselves and get down to business regarding the use of guns in our society and the mental health issues, or this will happen again.