A tragedy before Christmas

Terry Roberts
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These should be times of excitement, happiness and joy. But sadly, Christmas 2012 will now likely be remembered just as much for the senseless slaughter that took place at a school in small-town Connecticut as it will be for any gift-giving, family gatherings or festive events.

Forget that this reprehensible act took place in another country. The young children and the adult victims caught in the middle of this rampage are no different than we are, and they deserve no less consideration than if it happened in our own neighbourhood.

As this editorial is being penned, the world’s attention is fixated on Newtown, Connecticut, where a gunman entered a school on the morning of Friday, Dec. 14 and used at least two firearms to bring down a hail on bullets on those inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, a kindergarten to Grade 4 school with an estimated 600 students.

Some estimates put the number of dead at 30, mostly children. There were horror stories filtering out through the media on Friday of more than 100 rounds being fired in the school, and images of terrified young children and adults being broadcast far and wide on every possible form of traditional and social media. The shooter was dead and the debate about gun control was already starting to ramp up.

We usually reserve this space, at this time of year, for an upbeat missive about Christmas. But it’s difficult to convey the traditional message of peace among men and good tidings under these circumstances. The more appropriate message is that we all take a step back, count our blessings, get close to our family and friends, and pray for an end to such irrational acts.

Let’s think less about iPods and video games and fancy decorations, and more about spending quality time with those we love. The insanity in Connecticut is a stark reminder of how precious and fleeting life can be, and that’s something to keep in mind in the coming days as we race around from Christmas parties and concerts and squeeze our way through the mass tangle of people and traffic as we do that last-minute shopping.

Terry Roberts, senior editor

The Compass

Organizations: Sandy Hook Elementary School, Grade 4 school

Geographic location: Newtown, Connecticut

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