I thought I was pretty desensitized to violence in the news, but all day I’ve been in tears about the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Murder is always a tragedy, but when it’s twenty little kids- many of whom were probably excited about Santa visiting them in a week and a half- it’s even more heartbreaking. We were all in elementary school once. We all have little kids in our lives somewhere. We all have teachers we love, either when we were in school or friends and family members who teach. When a random shooting happens in places like a school, a movie theater, a mall, you can’t help but think of how easily you or someone in your life could have been a victim.
I’d already been planning on watching Love Actually tonight, since I usually watch it around Christmas. The central message of the movie, that “love actually is all around,” is pretty comforting right now. At the beginning, they mention how, as far as we know, all of the phone calls placed from the World Trade Center after the planes hit it were messages of love- and although this is a movie that thinks Hugh Grant is a plausible prime minister, that’s actually a good point.
Then I saw this- Diane Sawyer’s interview with a first-grade teacher at the school, Kaitlin Roig, who saved her whole class by barricading them in a bathroom- and who, incidentally, is only a year older than me. And I started crying all over again.
“I said to them, ‘I need you to know that I love you all very much and that it’s going to be okay,’ because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear.”
Horrible acts of hate and violence will never stop happening in one way or another. When they do, I think the only way to keep from losing faith in humanity is remembering that acts of love are happening around us all the time- whether it’s something as small as listening to someone who needs to talk or something as heroic as wanting to make sure that if your six-year-old students die, the last thing they’ll hear will be words of love rather than gunshots. Those acts of love are more prevalent than acts of hatred and violence, even if we don’t hear about them, and we need to remember that.
And to remember this: