Remembering Sandy Hook

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I sit with more than a little heartsick disillusionment as I ponder this 10th anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting. Many people thought a trauma of this scale would necessarily force us to think differently. And of course it did, in some places, for some people. But over 90 children have died in school shootings following Sandy Hook and over 205,000 K-12 students have been exposed to gun violence at school — we are still caught in a downward spiral.

But though disillusioned, I am not hopeless. I am convinced more than ever of the need to ask better questions, ones that can activate our imaginations — from whichever part of the political spectrum we inhabit — to see an alternative reality from the one we are creating. 

What if we created learning environments for our children that gave them a sense of safety and possibility, which fostered their capacity to reimagine the world they will inherit? This of course is a bigger question than how to manage rampant gun violence, but I think creating spaces where children feel safer and freer than they currently do is key to any alternative future worth living.

Economist Milton Friedman once said that when crisis occurs the actions taken depend on the ideas already lying around. Our work to imagine alternatives to what exists, and to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable. 

I am thankful to belong to this St. Paul’s community that is leaning in to those big What If? questions; it keeps my hope alive. And I am heartened by the work so many of you are doing through our local community organizations that are coming up with better paths for cradle-to-career success for our children, each doing their little part to foster those ideas forward until they become inevitable. Thank you for investing in and participating in these communities that are making a difference for our children’s future. It will make a difference for all of us, and for the world we pass on. 

— Fr. Daniel

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