I’ve seen a lot during my thirteen years in the news business. I’ve never had to remove myself from the booth for anything. That all changed Friday afternoon. I’ve never cried on the job. Not once. Not even during 9/11. Not during the Cheshire home invasion. That all changed Saturday. I’ve never hated my job. I’ve never dreaded coming into work. that changed this past weekend. I think it’s safe to say, all our lives changed this past weekend. What we once thought as safe havens are no more. Our definition of heroes has forever been defined. No longer can we describe a sports play or player as heroic or a hero. It’s safe to say they would never take a bullet for your kids.
I look at this tragedy through a different set of eyes. Not only was I directing during all the chaos on Friday, helping deliver the unimaginable news to the state and sometimes the country, my mind kept wandering back to my wife, my daughter, my friends and my school. My mind was just a bundle of “what if’s?” What if this happened at a school my wife was working in that day. What if this happened at my daughters preschool? What if this happened at my high school where I coach or a number of the other schools I have close friends in. For hours it became a fight in my head between what was happening and what could happen and eventually I just succumbed to the emotions.
I cried a lot on Friday. I cried more that day then in any day since my father died twenty years ago. I pride myself on being the rock both at work and at home. I failed in both those aspects but I am fine with that. At work I try to rise above the fray. I try to stay stoic and focused on the job at hand. That was an almost impossible task this past weekend.
It has taken a few days, but I feel like life is starting to get back to normal but in no means will it ever be the same. If this isn’t a wake up call to the country, then I don’t know what is. We need to improve our mental healthcare. We need to refine and improve our gun laws and our obsession with guns in this country. We need to change the way we look at our educators. I will stand toe-to-toe with anyone that says teachers are over paid. We need to treat the people who need it most and we need to pay the great men and women who cultivate learning and growing in our children more. More guns will not make us a better country but I am confident that those first two points will.
Finally, I hope that all those families affected by this unforgivable tragedy find the strength to move on together. Find the strength to live your lives that would make your son or daughter, brother or sister, wife or mom so proud of you. I hope to never go through what these folks in Newtown are but I now realize how easily it could have been my town and it could be me. I hug my daughter and wife a little tighter and a little longer now.
I hope that this finds all my readers well this holiday season and you all take the time to truly appreciate what this time of year is all about: Family.
For our fellow Nutmeggers in Newtown, your kids and teachers will always be in my heart.
Stay strong and Merry Christmas.