Several friends and family members have remarked that I must have felt relieved having my kids home with me last Friday when news of the horrible school massacre hit us. It's true. I was extremely grateful that my children were busy working on math and playing with Legos while I stood in the kitchen sobbing as I listened to the news. Connecticut is a long way from here, but the tragedy hit all of us close to home.
I read a few articles today on the shooting, and find myself disturbed by some of the words and phrases popping up repeatedly: survivalists, "preppers", target practice, gun range, homeschooling, introvert. These words and phrases do not necessarily define me or my family, but they are familiar in my life and among my community; maybe in yours too. Like the mother of the shooter, I too have discussed with friends about preparing for an uncertain future, I have enjoyed target practice at the gun range, and I have pulled my children out of public school.
Dear "Media", should I be sleeping with one eye open?
My heart aches for all of the victims as my mind tries to comprehend the inexplicable. I want to hear about the facts as they emerge, but I'm sickened by the knee jerk reactions promoted by the media. Even my favorite radio show, Marketplace, tried to make a point Friday evening about how there are almost three times as many gun shops in the United States as there are Starbucks in the world. What does that even mean? That we should buy Frappuccinos, not guns?
We might never make sense of what happened in Sandy Hook, or the media's coverage of the event. What I can do is grieve for those poor children and teachers, and for the mother and son who must have been terribly troubled. I can talk openly with my children about the tragedy, as well as personal safety, mental illness, guns, and legislature. I can focus on what is good and right in the world, because we can't get rid of the evil and wrong. Most importantly, I can build up what I believe is the best antidote to many of society's woes: community. We are strengthened, in good times and bad, by those around us.
Are you ready for some good news? Thanks to the awesome CrossFit community I have become a part of this past year, I had the opportunity to compete in my very first athletic competition last Saturday.
My partner and I took first place among 36 co-ed teams! There's nothing quite like beating men to make a woman feel strong. It was an amazing event (sadly honoring a police officer killed in the line of duty), and I was honored to compete alongside so many strong, dedicated athletes. You can read more about the event here. Now that I've had my first taste of winning, I can't wait to compete again. Time to train harder so I'll be harder to beat.
Final note: Among the goodies in my winner's bag was a Starbucks gift card. I will not be using it to buy Frappuccinos. I will, however, tune into Marketplace tonight and give Kai Ryssdal another chance. Hopefully he'll stick to what he knows and avoid knee-jerk style analogies. Show me the money, Kai.