What we should take out of the elementary school shooting

What we should take out of the elementary school shooting

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Alex Francisco, Sports Editor

Editorial

What’s on your Christmas list this year? The latest Apple products? That Michael Kors bag you’ve had your eye on? How about a new flatscreen or phone?

I know there is only one thing on the wishlist of 20 families in Newtown, Connecticut: to be able to go back in time before the lives of their children were robbed in the heinous elementary school shooting last Friday.

I know my editorials are usually satirical rants, but there is a time and place for comedy. I’ve decided this is a serious topic and my opinion about it is worth being shared.

I’m sure everyone knows about this tragedy and is just as disgusted and heartbroken about the situation as I am, and if any good does come out of this situation I hope that it is in the form of people in this country getting their priorities straight.

I notice that in life, especially around the holidays, people easily lose sight of what is really important because they’re too caught up in material things or stresses irrelevant to what is really amazing about life.

This week my older sister gave birth to her first child, Adrian. As cliche as it is, the moment I held my nephew for the first time I was overwhelmed with emotion. I thought about how amazing and incredible life is.

While driving home with my other sister from the hospital I received a phone call informing me that my aunt was very sick and that the chances of her making it through the night were very slim. She died around 5 a.m. the next morning.

How can a family be blessed with a gift as amazing as a new baby, and just a few hours later be gathered back in a hospital room, this time mourning the death of someone so dear to them? They say births and deaths really bring a family together, but they shouldn’t happen simultaneously.

In a span of 24 hours I gained a nephew, lost an aunt, and news broke about 27 lives being taken in the most horrible massacre our nation has ever seen. This really had me thinking about how you really never know what life is going to chuck at you and how lucky we are to be here in the first place.

On Friday 27 lives were prematurely taken, most of them children. I have a 10-year-old sister in elementary school and that little girl is my world. All I can think about is if I ever had to go pick her up at school, as I do every day, this time knowing there is a possibility she wouldn’t be coming home. If anything ever happened to her I would be beside myself.

I can’t even imagine being one of the teachers in this situation. Having had the opportunity to work as a camp counselor I got to spend a month with a group of amazing pre-schoolers. When working a job like this you fall in love with your kids immediately. I can’t imagine how distraught I would be if something happened to one of them, never mind 20 of them at the camp, especially if I had to witness it.

I heard about how in the shooting, a teacher, just 27 years old, hid all her children in cabinets and told the shooter her students were in the gym. She died in the act of protecting all of her students, and because of her heroism, all of her kids are alive today. The world can be a sick place, and the fact that there are people out there who would open fire on innocent children is unfathomable. However, it’s reassuring to know that there are still people out there just like this beautiful teacher, the courageous principal of the school whose last words were screams down the hallway warning everyone to lock their doors, and other staff and administration who did everything in their power to protect these young lives.

The thing is, I truly believe that these acts of bravery by the adults in the school were most likely subconscious decisions. I doubt that any of them contemplated for a second whether or not they should risk their lives to protect these children; It’s just human nature. It was what they had to do.

Whether in the case of a sister you’ve known for ten years, a nephew you’ve just met, a group of preschoolers you weren’t related to and only were acquainted with for a month, or 20 first-graders you’ve never met, they’re still children and how could you not go to extreme lengths to ensure that each and every one gets to experience his or her first kiss, graduate high school, or open up presents this Christmas Day?

It is so heart-wrenching to see pictures from this shooting, my heart can’t help but break from just looking at pictures of families crying outside of the school and the victims’ faces. I can’t imagine having had actually been there to witness it all. This will scar the community of Newtown for life no matter what way they were affected. I wouldn’t wish that experience on my worst enemy.

How anyone could be using this tragedy to preach their viewpoints on gun control, capital punishment, mental illnesses, and violence in video games, or to complain about how this news has taken over the social media is beyond me.

This is a time when we, as a country, should be coming together. Nothing matters right now more than these victims. Why does everything need to turn into a debate, why can’t it just be about these poor families right now? Why can’t we just feel sympathy together and put our differences aside to do so? No one cares about your opinions right now.

While for some, the biggest problem is that no one will stop talking about the shooting on their Twitter feed, someone else’s life will never be the same because their child was murdered in cold blood. Their significant other or child or sibling’s life was unnecessarily taken on what should have been just another Friday at school or work.

Some people need to just shut up. Go give your annoying little sibling a hug. Thank a teacher who cares about you. We should be showing as much love as possible, especially this time of year. Take a break from all the stress and material items that don’t matter and just reflect on all the things that do: on how blessed you are to be here and that you have people who care about you. Pray for those whose loved ones were taken from them.

This morning I got to wake up to a text from my best friend. I got to eat breakfast with my sisters and help my mom clean up the house to a Celine Dion CD. I get to spend the day with my father on his birthday and welcome home my nephew and sister from the hospital today. I get to go to school on Monday. I get to go to prom and graduate and fall in love and open the door to new things and opportunities.

What more could I ever need?

Twenty-seven people will not be opening up gifts this Christmas and 27 families had to learn what the holidays are really about the hard way.

Life really is the most precious commodity of all.