The Children Left Behind After Mass Shootings
Mary E. Latela, December 10, 2015
“Since no amount of dead bodies seems enough to spur lawmakers to rein in access to guns, let’s focus on the living — the children gun violence leaves behind.” The Editorial Board, NYTimes, November 30, 2015
What a shocking headline, and an article that boldly points to the horrible trauma on the children left behind. They are among the survivors of gun violence that took away Grandma or Mom or Dad or little brother.
Grandma made sugar cookies, and as long as you drank a whole glass of milk with them, you could enjoy the sweet, smooth experience. She’d be there to run to, when you skinned your knee and needed a wash and a bandaid, and a kiss to make it better.
Dad came in after work and you could jump up and he’d whirl you around like a doll, loving you, calling you, “My guy! How’s my guy?” And he’d let you hold the wrench when he was working on the car, and when he needed it, he’d ask – all formal -“Where’s that wrench?” He’d squeeze your hand a little when you gave him the tool he needed.
Little Andy is an angel now. You don’t need another angel. There’s a pretty angel on the wall, a girl angel, who watches over you. But she must be crying because she made a mistake. What about Andy’s birthday? What about the old baseball glove he carried, Dad’s old glove far too big for him? Who would play catch now?
Mom says you can’t just cry all day. She didn’t say “No crying!” like a bossy lady. I saw her cry too. She says we have to get up and get dressed and have breakfast and see what the day will bring. No matter what, she’d take you by the hand to watch the sunset. She said it was a tradition. She said, “Life goes on.”
A version of this editorial appears in print on December 1, 2015, NYTimes, title: “The Children Left Behind.”