So when the news of the tragedy in Newtown, CT made headlines today, I think a bit of all of our hearts broke. If you can't go to the movies, and you can't go to the mall, and you can't go to... elementary school, (?!) where can you go?
My friend told me no one can live their lives in fear, but in the moment, I couldn't think of another option, replaying in my mind all of the breaking news updates I've received since just the Aurora shooting this summer.
I sat for most of the day watching CBS Special coverage online, waiting for updates, hearing the staggering numbers rise and rise, waiting for it to stop. Learning of the relation to the school, thinking of parents who might have encouraged their kids to go to school after they said they had a tummy ache this morning. Then I reached a point where I realized it was just torture to my human heart to watch the same slideshow of photos repeating on my screen, and the same SOTs of frightened and not-so-innocent third graders talking about the "booms."
I spoke to my mom, who read CNBC Business News today, and told me she realized in the midst of the tragedy that is today, who really cares about JC Penney's holiday season or the stock market?
I was angry that yet another small town is made famous before something serious is done about gun control, and then I heard President Barack Obama speak. He cried, he said he and the First Lady would hug their kids a little tighter tonight, he said, "no words can ease [the victims] pain."
I cried, for the first time in the day, and I ate dinner and put it in the back of my mind. Still, I had moments where I thought about the parents who learned today that their children weren't returning home, opening Christmas presents in just 10 days, or lighting the menorah tonight as always. Having birthdays, first dates, college majors, weddings and drivers licenses. But mostly, I carried on.
Then Katie Couric posted a photo to Instagram with the caption, "In CT, speaking with Sandy Hook third graders," and I think I had an epiphany. A real "Aha! Moment," to borrow the term from Oprah.
The photo healed my heart, and silenced the thoughts I couldn't help but let creep in all day long. As a reporter, you ask the impossible questions, you learn the senseless answers, and you move on and grow though telling the stories that need to be told to hurting hearts in order to mend them.
You cannot let this world harden your heart. And as a President or reporter, you cannot silence the parent or human being in you. And my friend was right. You cannot live your life in fear. The tragic, awful and numbing events that take place in this country are part of our ever-changing history. And I realized today, only by asking the tough and baffling questions can the parents, the classmates, the teachers and the observers start to find closure.
And this is why we do it.
You heard it here first,