Some news is impossible to ignore. Some news leaks into even the most safely locked bubble. Plastered all over facebook, in emails, in headlines — it is everywhere. And so even an ostrich such as myself, with my head deep in the sand, cannot avoid hearing about twenty kids and six teachers killed on Friday.
Friday night we went to dinner at my parents’ home. It was the seventh night of Hanukkah, the festival of lights, of miracles. We lit the candles, sung songs, the children’s innocent, open faces illuminated by the flickering light of the candles. We had homemade food, lovingly prepared by my mother, and home-baked challah, her specialty. I sat, surrounded by the love of my family, and thought: Here we are, safe and secure, and somewhere across the United States are twenty-six families, probably more, whose darkness cannot be lightened tonight. Somewhere across the United States twenty little bodies and six bigger ones are lying in a morgue instead of having dinner at home.
News people: instead of telling me about the killer, his parents, his situation, here is what I want: I want to hear about the day each of the twenty six was born. I want to hear about their first breath, what kind of a baby each was. About the first time they rolled over and how they took their first step. I want to hear about the foods they loved and hated, their favorite color and animal, what made each of them unique. I want to know what they had for breakfast on Friday and what was the last thing they said before they left their home. I want to hear about the last hug and kiss they gave.
The twenty six are the important ones. They are who should be at the top of the news. They ought to be the pictures we carry engraved in our hearts so that we know, we just know that this can never ever happen again.
Perhaps if we gave them the attention, those who rode to school on their bikes with their parents on Friday morning, or walked with a friend, or rode in the car, or had a fight with their brother or sister, or forgot to brush their teeth, or were rude to their mom, perhaps if we gave them the attention instead of the killer, it would be not just a lessening of a reason to kill but a deterrent. Yes, we need better and more accessible mental health care. Yes, we need better gun control. But what we really need is an end to sensationalism. An end to publicizing the perpetrators of these horrid events. Instead, we can praise the teacher who saved sixteen kids, the children who were able to hide quietly, those who helped others, who supported each other, who gave their lives.
I believe love can travel around the globe if need be, and so I ask you, for just a moment, to let go of your outrage and direct your love toward the families hurt by this tragedy. Just close your eyes and send them love. It is love that will save the world.