Saturday, December 15, 2012

protect the children

I theorized a few days ago that my blog post today would contain a my experiences co-planning the annual ward Christmas party.  The sore feet that I was sure would come (and I was correct), the relief of stress I would feel (I was also correct) and the end of finals week (which was also an amazing blessing).  However, life has a way of changing things...

Last night after a full day of work and a full week of decorating, cooking, singing at and cleaning up after the ward Christmas party that I was co-chair for, I was finally able to sit down upstairs and watch the news before heading to bed.  I'd read a bit about the story while at work, however, I was so busy I merely read a few headlines then continued work on a few of the divorce cases going to trial next week.  My father and my husband hadn't heard anything about the killings either, being busy at work as well.   

I was saddened and horrified by the news as I watched the timeline of this travesty unfold.  I wondered how a young man, the exact same age as me mind you, could get to such a dark, horrible place in his own mind that he felt the need to not only destroy his own life, but the lives of countless others.  I thought of my three little nieces and how horrified and distraught I would feel if any of them were in any situation remotely close to what happened in Newtown, CT.

Not only did I begin pondering on that horrific, senseless act of violence in Connecticut, but I also began pondering on the at least two other instances of violence to happen this week alone.  The Jovan Belcher murder/suicide and the Oregon mall killings have all occurred in this small window of time.  I'm sure there are many other violent acts to have taken place in the last two weeks that I am not aware of.  As my husband, father and I watched, we began discussing all of these killings that have taken place in two weeks time.  We also spoke of our experiences when Columbine, The Virginia Tech Massacre, The Aurora Colorado Movie Theater Shootings and countless other violent acts taken out on innocent men, women and children.  How when each individual event happened, we couldn't believe humanity could fall any further.  And with each individual event, we were constantly proved wrong.

The true heroine, in my humble opinion, of the entire tragedy is Victoria Soto.

CNN reports:
Soto, a first grade teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary, moved her students away from the classroom door when she heard gunfire, which students initially "thought were hammers falling," according to the father of one of her students.

Her students were huddled behind her in a corner of the classroom, her family said.

"That's when the gunman burst in, did not say a word, no facial expressions, and proceeded to shoot their teacher," said Robert Licata, whose 6-year-old son Aiden escaped by running past the shooter.

"She instinctively went into action when a monster came into her classroom and tried to protect the kids that she loved so much," her cousin, James Wiltsie, said. "We just want the public to know that Vicki was a hero."

While Soto had no children of her own, she did love her dog. The black lab Roxie spent Saturday wondering around Soto's apartment, apparently looking for her, relatives said.

Now is not the time to discuss personal opinions on gun control or demand the government take action to prevent this from happening again.  Now is the time to lovingly remember those who were lost in this horrific event.  As a current Elementary Education Major, I felt a connection with this particular occurrence.  I thought as I watched the bravery exhibited by the teachers involved wondering, If my class of kindergarteners was in that situation, would I be able to be as calm, loving and brave as these teachers were?  That answer in unclear, but I know that if I have even half of the love that those teachers had for their students, I would do anything to protect them.

My personal thoughts and prayers are with those families suffering through this incredible tragedy.  However, I know without a doubt that their families will be reunited in the hereafter.  Hold those you love tighter and always protect the children.  

"I have spoken for children—children everywhere. Some may reject some of these examples, but none should resist the plea that we unite to increase our concern for the welfare and future of our children—the rising generation.  We are speaking of the children of God, and with His powerful help, we can do more to help them. In this plea I address not only Latter-day Saints but also all persons of religious faith and others who have a value system that causes them to subordinate their own needs to those of others, especially to the welfare of children." -Dallin H. Oaks

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