A communion of grief….
I drove my sons to school after a weekend away from news coverage of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. After a Friday filled with tears (mine) and heartbreak (ours), we spent the weekend outside. We hiked in the snow, sledded down hillsides, and cut our Christmas tree. It didn’t ease the grief or the strange sense of survivors-guilt-from-afar, but did provide fresh air and quiet.
As we pulled to a stop in the drop-off lane, I kissed my boys and told them to have a good day. They mumbled their cool-teenager, monosyllabic replies and I was feeling grateful for normal Monday mornings. I drove away from the school, stopped for coffee, and turned on the radio as I began the trip to my office in the next town. I turned on the radio just in time to hear David Greene mention Noah Pozner, one of the students killed in Friday’s shooting. I turned on the radio just in time to hear him mention how many times the young boy was shot. I turned on the radio just in time to be snapped back to the reality of loss and communion of grief for the Sandy Hook children and their families.
My emotional response was so strong and swift, I had to jerk my car off the highway and catch my breath — or slow my breaths, as it was. I railed at the radio, “Damn you, NPR! Too much!”
Like every other person I know, I was having a hard time processing the grief. And that was before hearing just how violent the attack was. I pointed my finger and shook my fist. If I wasn’t in the car, I would have stamped my foot, too. And then I cried.
A rather broad range of bollocks….
I scanned my RSS feeds as I made breakfast. Michael Wolff, a writer at The Guardian, took NPR’s Andy Carvin to task for tweeting “a rather broad range of bollocks” throughout Friday’s attack. Wolff’s criticism was harsh and weirdly personal.
In the confusion of a breaking crisis, whether it be a revolution overseas or a tragedy at home, I give Carvin a wide berth on fact checking and drama. I didn’t watch television on Friday, but relied on the New York Times Lede Blog and Twitter. It was far less annoying and self-dramatizing (Wolff) than the cable news networks on their best days.
We were on the way to school when I turned on the radio just in time to hear this.
Ooph. When Noah’s mother started talking…. Before she had finished her first sentence, I knew I had turned on the radio at the most painful moment again. And I cried. Again. My boys went silent and still. Hearing this boy’s mother’s grief left them shaken. I dropped them at school with kisses and “I love yous” and felt again the tug of survivor’s guilt and deep, deep sympathy for the Pozner family.
That same morning, Frank Deford delivered his sports angle on the growing call for gun law revisions. His call for gun owners to be good sports was light and reasonable, just as I expected. It offset, and yet underscored, the grief of the related stories.
I’ve looked forward to Deford’s Wednesday morning rambles for decades. On this day, he shared a view I’ve heard from my hunter friends and family this week. It’s a view I hold, myself. “For those who have the potential to reduce the gun carnage in the United States of America are precisely the people who own guns and who are good sports.”
We are those people.
It was all done….
Volunteer firefighter Chip Carpenter: “It’s just the helplessness of [being] unable to do anything.”
Ugh. Yes. Nearby and thousands of miles of away, the helplessness lingers. My heart aches for the moms and dads, sisters and brothers, grandparents and friends, teachers and first responders. May you find peace in the coming years.
Damn you, NPR.
Thank you, NPR. Tell their stories.