THE HORROR IS BEYOND WORDS: a peaceful school in a peaceful town turned upside down by a man with guns, children and teachers killed, families torn asunder, lives altered unimaginably and forever.
And then, almost as horrible, the familiarity of the event. We have been here before, we know the drill. The details of the shooting will be particular — the precise number of casualties, the killer’s exact route, how he finally was stopped or stopped himself — we know the drill. Over the coming days we will hear of grief counselors and evacuation plans. We will learn more than we want to know about the shooter’s motive and mental health. We will suffer along with the grieving parents and siblings, wishing we could do more. We will feel for the survivors as they wonder how to prepare their children to move forward, to go to school again, to live what we like to think of as normal lives. We will all imagine ourselves in their shoes, imagine ourselves picking up the phone to hear an automated phone call from a principal or superintendent: “We regret to inform you that there has been an incident.”