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Reeder: Trying to explain the inexplicable

Scott Reeder

Scott Reeder

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Updated: January 21, 2013 3:08PM



How do you write an obituary for a first grader?

How do you do it 19 more times?

When I was a young reporter, I covered a school shooting in Iowa. I saw the pain in the eyes of classmates, brothers, sisters and teachers.

I thought I understood. But I didn’t. I wasn’t a parent then.

When the first reports came in Friday morning, I thought of my three daughters. Grace, Anna, Caitlin.

Are they safe? Could this happen here?

I thought of those Connecticut families. Twenty empty bedrooms. Forty weeping parents. Eighty grandparents who never will rock a child on their knee without remembering.

The loss is beyond comprehension.

Forty eyes, untempered by time, witnessed horror in their waning moments. Innocence was betrayed.

The tiny shirts and blouses hang in closets never to be worn again. Toys are still scattered on floors.

Christmas presents sit under trees never to be opened.

What does a parent do with those things? Treasure them? Give them away?

I don’t know.

A tiny piece of our future was stolen from us last week.

One can’t help but think of the birthdays never to be celebrated. The prom dresses never to be worn. The driver’s licenses never to held and admired.

There won’t be recitals to be heard, games to be cheered, graduations to attend, weddings to rejoice.

We look for reasons and find none.

We hurt so much for those who grieve so deeply in Connecticut.

But what’s a parent to do?

Hold your children tight. Love them. Never let them forget that you do.

Scott Reeder is a veteran statehouse reporter and the journalist-in-residence at the Illinois Policy Institute, a nonprofit research group that supports the free market and limited government.



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