Posted tagged ‘Tucson shooting’

Let Me Tell You About My Day…..

January 15, 2011

The television goes on first thing in the morning at our house.  It generally plays in the background as we get ready for the day.  We get the weather report and road conditions in between showers and toothbrushes.  This is important when you live in an area that fluctuates between snow and ice and nothing at all in the winter.  My son always has an ear out for the sports reports and my daughter has an ear out for nothing at all.  Unless there are snow day reports.  Current events spill over and catch my ear while I am throwing together a lunch.  This morning, however, I was stopped in my tracks.

There were reports about the Saturday shooting in a Tucson shopping center…..about the victims….and the shooter.   A nine-year old girl born on 9/11 was one of those killed.  Portions of Congressional Rep. Gabby Gifford’s skull were being removed to accommodate the swelling of her brain – a residual effect from the bullet that tore through her head. 

There was a lump in my throat.

Opened up my school mail as soon as I got to work.  There was a message about a second grader – an occasional student of mine and younger brother of a student I see regularly – beginning treatment for lymphoma over the weekend.  Teachers and parents were banding together to provide meals for the family while mom is holed up in the hospital with her hockey loving youngest.  I checked the schedule and they seemed to be covered.  A seven year old dealing with chemotherapy and its after effects.

There was a lump in my throat.

Third graders are generally very talkative in the morning.  They want to share everything….especially if they haven’t seen you in a while.  Since I see my classes just once a week, I am always prepared for the onslaught of weekend news when the third graders come into the computer lab on Mondays.   And I wasn’t disappointed.  There were haircuts and skiing excursions to hear about.  And trips to the movies.  As the class was settling down and logging in to their computers, a round-faced cherub was going on and on about the video game he had played with his dad all weekend.  And how very good he was at it.  The game?  Halo Reach.

Now, I have a 16-year-old who has played the game.  I have kept a blind eye to it because I know that his gaming preference mostly leans toward the sports genre – hockey, football and golf.  I know that the Halo series is science fiction and about super soldiers battling aliens.  I know that kids know that its not real.  But its a ‘first person shooter’ type game. When you play it, you see the barrel of the gun as you aim……and ‘you’ shoot.  To kill.   To blow things up.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Halo:

The series has been praised as being among the best first person shooters on a video game console and are considered the Microsoft Xbox’s ‘killer app”.  This has led to the term ‘Halo killer’ being used to describe console games that aspire, or are considered, to be better than Halo. Fueled by the success of Halo: Combat Evolved, and immense marketing campaigns from publisher Microsoft, its sequels went on to break various sales records.  The games have sold over 34 million copies worldwide, and all Halo merchandise has grossed more than $1.7 billion.



 For a game?

And this is what we invent to entertain ourselves with?

There was a serious lump in my throat.

When I opened my email, I found an update from a group that my family supports on a monthly basis – Compassion International.   The email was an update about their work in Haiti – a country still struggling to come back from a devastating earthquake, cholera and famine.  I had gotten another report from another group over the weekend telling about the frustrations with providing housing for the slum dwellers still living in tents.  This email was a letter of thanks – for support and prayers and money – for aid in CI’s continuing work in Haiti.  Pictures flooded my brain of children and adults living under blue tarps with winter weather underway.  Of kids crowding into school desks  just so they can learn anything at all and get at least one meal a day.  Of hospitals and clinics flooded with feverish patients….who were dying.  Of women risking rape as they go in search of food….and water.

All the while – not so very far away – third graders are playing Halo. 

There was a lump in my throat.

And my day went on, the lump softened somewhat.  There were mundane tasks and things to do.  Basketball practice.  Dinner.  Homework to oversee.

But the lump was still there.

The kind of lump that gives you fleeting moments of despair.  Of children playing games pretending to shoot and kill and blow up.  Of nine year olds being shot alongside the public mentor she might of chosen to be like.  Of seven year olds struggling with cancer.   Of  frustration for what the future actually holds.

For all of us.

And then I logged onto my Facebook to check in with family and friends as I usually do in the evenings.  Suddenly, all of my cares and frustrations and worries melted away as I read this tidbit about this delicious, penguin loving,  just turning six-year-old daughter of a friend.

   “…….. is sitting with the cutest little ballerina girl who is writing a “To-Do” List for Dr. Marfa Lutha King, Jr. Day. “We read a book all about him in library today, mommy. He was a good man that wanted people to be safe & good to one another.”   Her little to do list involved taking down the Christmas decorations and putting up things about people getting along, and making snacks to share and other such almost 6 year old trappings.

So, as long as we still teach about and think about  – and hold true – the ideals of ‘Dr. Marfa Lutha King, Jr.’….

……all will be well in my world.

I hope.