November 24, 2014 violence. After a night of violence across the nation, including in my own city of Seattle, Washington, I searched for some encouragement that might help put out the fires of hatred, and send energy into the universe to prevent those fires from ever burning again.
Mr. Wiesel knows a little bit about hatred and suffering. He was held captive at Auschwitz and survived.
Of his relatives, only he and two of his sisters survived.
The following quote is from his book, Forgotten.
As a human race, we must choose between: the violence of adults, and the smiles of children; the ugliness of hate, and the will to oppose it; inflicting suffering and humiliation on our fellow man, and offering him the solidarity and hope he deserves for naught.
Even in darkness, it is possible to create light, and encourage compassion. Every moment of our life is essential; every gesture is essential. Our role in life is to give an offering to each other.
Twenty young children and six school employees lost their lives in a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school today.
Approximately 40 parents said good bye to their young children for the last time this morning – children whose siblings, aunts and uncles, nephews, cousins, and grandparents, have one less family member. The school employees’ families are one short as well.
A lone gunman broke his way into an elementary school today with a Bushmaster .223 long rifle and two semi-automatic pistols: a 9mm Sig Sauer, and a 10mm Glock. He will not be tried in a court of law. He was the 27th human life that breathed its last at the school today.
This tragedy currently ranks as the 2nd worse school shooting in our Nation’s history. The 2007 Virginia Tech massacre of 32 takes 1st place; the Columbine Colorado High School incident comes in at 3rd place, with 13 massacred.
How does anyone reconcile the horror of this act?
And how do we erase the picture from our minds of children running down the school corridor with their eyes shielded, as advised by the emergency responders, to avoid seeing the carnage in and around the school office. You see, the school principal, a mother of five children of her own, and the school psychologist, were two of the six adult employees murdered today. But wait – there’s more. The gunman killed his mother at her home. All weapons used during the massacre were legally registered to the mother – a gun enthusiast.
Why even write an article about this tragedy when there is no lack of news coverage at your fingertips?
My reason for doing so is to vainly try to express my horror and grief over the loss of life that occurred today, and the loss of innocence that was stolen from the surviving children who witnessed the carnage. At this time of year, these children should only be concerned about whether the items on their Holiday gift lists will appear in their homes. Now these children – and all children in schools throughout the Nation and the World – have to wonder if their school is safe; if they can run away fast enough; if their favorite teacher will be a target.
I don’t have anything else to say other than to leave you with a sentiment from Nobel Peace Prize winner, and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel:
We must choose between the violence of adults, and the smiles of children; the ugliness of hate and the will to oppose it; between inflicting suffering and humiliation on our fellow man, and offering him the solidarity and hope he deserves for naught. Even in darkness, it is possible to create light and encourage compassion. There it is – I still believe in man, in spite of man.