I am saddened by the events in Newtown, Connecticut yesterday. But, unfortunately, I am no longer surprised.
I’m not going to get on a soapbox and talk about gun control or school security. I’m not an expert on either and will leave that to those who know what they’re talking about. I’m not even going to talk about access to mental health care, although that is important to me.
What I am going to talk about is the injustices that children have suffered ever since the beginnings of the human race. Children have been forcibly aborted (as in the People’s Republic of China due to their one-child policy) or forcibly conceived, with no thought for the child’s care once he or she is born (as in Romania under Nicolae Ceaucescu). Children have been killed or abandoned at birth for having a disability, being the “wrong” gender, or simply being too small (as in the ancient Greek city-state Sparta) or inconvenient (partial-birth abortion).
Children die of lack of clean water and proper sanitation. They die of malnutrition and preventable diseases such as malaria and measles. They die as casualties of war. They die at the hands of abusive parents and other caregivers. They die as a result of medical mistakes. They get killed by impaired drivers. They die from cancer, AIDS, and severe allergic reactions.
Children are born addicted to drugs. They are physically and sexually abused by the adults who are supposed to protect them. They are neglected by parents who can’t even care for themselves. They are sold by their families and abducted by predators.
I don’t want to take anything away from the parents who lost children yesterday or the parents who were touched in some other way by yesterday’s events. But it is a tragedy EVERY time a child dies or suffers in ANY way besides the normal slings and arrows of growing up.
I hope we all cherish the children in our lives more, and I hope we think carefully about how we can help other children, in our community and around the world, and then follow those thoughts with action.