I had a blog post in mind for today, one that has been incubating since the middle of last week, as is usually my practice. But it can wait. After the Friday massacre of so many innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., it seems self-serving to write about what’s going on in my own little corner of the world.

Since last Friday, as more details have emerged about the shooter and his victims, about the heroism of those who sacrificed their lives trying to save more children, about how many rounds of ammo the shooter had in his cache, about how many more might have been killed if the police hadn’t arrived when they did, I have been struggling, like so many, to grasp fully what happened.

One morning you send your first grader off to school, and then. Gone. Murdered. No, slaughtered with a semiautomatic. Along with dozens of classmates, teachers. The images don’t go together. The pain is too great, too hard, even from a distance. My heart hurts. My prayers of comfort go to all of those who lost loved ones. But that seems inadequate, even still.

As President Obama spoke to the Newtown community Sunday night, you could hear a baby cooing somewhere in the audience. No one shushed it. Perhaps that was the most profound response to the nightmare.

Even in the midst of such tragedy, we are resilient. The will to live and heal and flourish, despite overwhelming loss and pain, is powerful, thank God. More powerful than the will to destroy.

And yet. As the days go on, as we return to our routines, will we maintain the focus and fortitude to ensure that our schools and malls and movie theatres are safe places for our children? Safe for all of us, regardless of social class, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual preference, physical disability, health challenges, whatever sets us apart?

President Obama issued a challenge. We need to change. The time is now. Yes.

Evelyn Herwitz blogs weekly about living fully with chronic disease, the inside of baseballs, turtles and frogs, J.S. Bach, the meaning of life and whatever else she happens to be thinking about at


  1. Kathy Pulda says:

    It occurred to me this week that young adults in Israel travel around the country in public, on duty or off, with guns and you hardly ever hear about the kind of violence
    We experience here. It’s our culture but unfortunately bc of that we are in a position where we need to keep guns out of the hands of all the crazies here. My father’s best friend growing up told me that when they were preteens too young to drive, they took the train into NYC, went to Macy’s and bought a rifle which they carried home on the train. They never killed anyone, a few street lights maybe but not people!

    • Interesting point. I just read an AP report that examines the lack of gun violence in Israel. They report that Israel has very tough gun control regulations. The only people carrying guns in public are IDF troops and licensed security guards. Everyone knows how to handle weapons, but you have to go through a lot of clearance to own one. Far fewer private gun owners there than here, and you have to prove your ability to handle the weapon and meet stringent mental health criteria to obtain a license and renew it. We have a lot to learn from them.

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