We’ll get back on track soon, but at the moment Newtown’s much on my mind. This tragedy was brought home to me in the person of my 12-year old granddaughter, Marley, who’s staying with us for a couple of weeks while her mom and dad are traveling. I drove Marley to school every morning the week after the Sandy Hook Elementary School murders and picked her up every afternoon. Every morning, my stomach clenched when I’d lean over, give her a hug and tell her that I’d see her after school; tell her I love her.
That’s probably much like what the parents at Sandy Hook Elementary did with their kids on December 14th.
“Love you. See you after school.”
But for many, this simple, parental promise was one that could not be honored.
At the end of each day, waiting on the street with the other parents, my heart would soar when I’d see Marley burst out of her school building; beaming, waving, and calling, “Grandpa! Hi, Grandpa!”
It should be so normal. You take your kids to school. You drop them off. You pick them up. You take them home. This should hardly be the stuff of high adventure or mortal danger. Of course most kids are safe at home, safe at school and safe in their neighborhoods, but for far too many, what should be our safest environments: home, neighborhood and school, have become venues of risk.
I’d like to see us approach improved public safety by increasing the funding for mental health services for individuals, families, schools, and communities and reducing the availability of at least the most inappropriate guns.
I won’t be driving Marley to school when it starts again in January, but I know her mom and dad would like to know that when they say, “See you after school” that they will.