I feel the need to explain why I’m not more upset about your deaths. Please trust that it’s not because I don’t deeply regret that your lives were cut short and your brilliant futures were snatched from your hands by a madman. It’s not because I don’t appreciate how sincerely terrified you must have been, staring down the barrel of a gun with your classmates lying dead around you, the shots that took their lives still ringing in your ears. I really am sad; I just don’t have the emotional strength to get overwrought about it.
I think you would agree our generation has had to deal with some pretty tragic stuff in recent years: the Columbine massacre in 1999, September 11th, 2001 and the military strikes that followed; the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina and a plethora of other senseless murders, tragedies, scandals, and natural disasters. Not to mention the fact that the Cubs haven’t played a decent season in years.
And so now I’m tired. My heart has been rung out like a wet rag over the last eight years, while you and I were trying to make the difficult passage from teenager to adult. We were coming of age in an increasingly cruel world, and no matter how nice we were, how much time or money we donated, no matter how we voted or campaigned, how much we educated ourselves on the issues and discussed them, there was simply nothing we could do to make any bit of difference. That’s how it seemed, huh?
I imagine most of you were a lot like me. You were going to school not because your parents told you to, but because you had dreams of doing something significant with your lives. You wanted everyone to be proud of you, so you worked hard, smiled through a lot of tough times, tried to treat everyone with equal friendship and courtesy. You wanted to prove wrong those who called you the “boomerang generation”. And you did. Those who knew you closely have been singing your praises to the newspapers, as well they should. You were remarkable. You loved and were loved. You were everything that is good and decent in this world.
After Columbine, they put two police officers at the entrance to my high school and made us get id badges. For weeks after September 11th, I dreams of smoky buildings and I couldn’t get onto an elevator. I was glued to my TV when we bombed Afghanistan and I made CNN my homepage when we went to Iraq. I sent money to the Red Cross and the Humane Society after Katrina and raged against the mismanagement of my country. And Monday morning, I cried in my car when I heard of your deaths on the radio.
But now I’m just numb. It doesn’t even register with me. The media has turned your school into a high school drama stage, your friends the actors and your death the climatic scene. And I can't watch one more minute or listen to one more analysis or read one more article about the details. He was sick and there was nothing to do to stop him, and that's all there is to it. They say the debate about gun controls has been reopened by your deaths, they’re arguing about whether we need more guns or fewer. I’m curious what you would have said. But I just don’t have any passion left in me right now, but someday I will again. I promise. Someday I will care again to live out the dreams I have, because I know that's all you wanted to do, and I am blessed to still have the chance. Rest in peace, you will be with us always.