OPINION

Tragedy can happen anywhere

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR

Never once I thought I’d have to write about something like this. I woke up Friday morning to such tragedy; 26 people killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., 20 of those people were between the ages of five and seven. When I read that a gunman walked in and opened fire to kill innocent children and teachers, I had to pause and think for a minute: my mom works at an elementary school, I have a niece who is four-years-old. I continued to read. I read that one of the shooters victims was his mother. I paused again.

What is going on in the world? The Mayan Calendar said the world would end on Dec. 21, and this shooting was exactly seven days until date. Is it really coming to an end? The Newtown shooting was the second mass shooting in the United States in a week – there was a mall shooting that left three dead Tuesday in Oregon.

Places aren’t looking safe to go anymore. If you go to the movie theatre there is a chance a shooter walks in with a mask and opens fire on the audience. You want to do some Christmas shopping; you risk being shot-to-death walking to the next store. Your kids love going to school, well you have to send them off and wonder if someone will get in and open fire there too. It’s not a good feeling to wonder if living a normal lifestyle can cause you your life. The people killed in the mass shootings were just normal people doing what they thought was safe, fun and most importantly free to do. No one thought they’d have a price to pay for it.

Later that Friday, I called my mom who works at Madisonville Elementary School. I asked her if she heard about the Sandy Hook shootings and she said yes, and she went on to say her school was put on lockdown due to shooting in the area. I froze. I had already reflected on my family when I first read about Newtown, now it hit home. Thankfully, my mom and her school weren’t under attack. Shootings were heard but it may have been hunters or something because after several hours nothing was found at the school. I was relieved to know she was safe. But, the idea that on this particular day two schools experienced shootings in the area: one was attacked (Newtown, Conn.) and the other not (Madisonville, La.).

That reminded me tragedy can happen anywhere and at anytime. I don’t know if other schools experienced shootings like at my moms school because those are the ones that go unheard in the news. However, even those close calls or false alarms, aren’t tolerable simply because of the fact of people’s lives are at stake. I don’t have children of my own, but I heard President Barack Obama say that having them is like having your heart walking around next to you, and as time goes on the farther they grow apart from you. None-the-less, they are still your most precious and valued commodities – your heart.

It’s time we take advantage of this tragedy and pull our families and loved ones closer. We don’t know if we will see them the next time we expect to, even if you part ways for an hour, eight hours or a week. We just don’t know. So, the time you share with them is that much more valuable. Don’t take for granted the opportunity to love because, clearly, tomorrow isn’t promised.

Blessings