Friday, December 14, 2012

Following a shooting, Radio Silence — Newtown, Connecticut

Dozens of children were killed in a safe corner of average America today. We were fortunate to be listening to NPR. The station soothed us and left us with our thoughts as the newscasters groped for information, our arteries spared the shrill menace of broadcasters tones or their AM mirrors.

The president's speech concerning the shooting was short and apolitical —a strong man filled with sorrow at the thought of murdered daughters. He stopped a little too long between lines, and the dead air was filled by a flurry of shutters: perhaps cameras catching a tear, or a choked expression of grief. It could have been nothing, for all we knew; we radio listeners could only imagine. The emotional moment was laden with mystery, but if Obama felt how we felt, then he was very close to crying.

We were proud of our leader for showing this weakness, and felt we should carry the burden of resolving this horror. The resolution that we reach, as a nation, will certainly be a challenging one, but however we reach it we must remember these moments, moments of responsibility and sorrow, moments of empathy for unknown parents. We choke back our own tears, harmonious with the radio, and move forward.

We remind ourselves: try to remember this specter of death when it is visited in staggering quantities upon unknown places. Remember all life ended unjustly is tragic. Remember all life is sacred.

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