We live in a society that makes it very, very easy to kill kids.
Though we want to pretend that isn't true.
Because the kids gunned down in Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday were swaddled in federally-regulated, fire-retardant blankets, rode in elaborate car seats plastered with safety stickers, learned to ride bikes with elbow pads, knee guards and safety helmets and were never left alone with a plastic bag. Some of them may never, ever have had a Twinkie.
Cribs, bouncy seats, cough medicine, scooters, sugary snacks — we have no problem regulating the everliving life out of those.
But how do we keep them safe in their sweet, little elementary school when we live in a culture that has convinced itself to accept guns?
Parents across the nation were undone by this tragedy. The president had to stop and wait, wait until his urge to sob had passed when he spoke of the "beautiful little kids" killed in Newtown, Connecticut Friday morning.
All day long, my Facebook feed had parents changing their profile pictures to their little ones. One friend left work early to surprise her kids. Another said she just has "to pause and bow down in prayer..." for those kids.
What has happened to our culture that we even have this category — school shootings — by which to measure a horror that should otherwise be inconceivable, immeasurable and unfathomable?
Stop and think for a moment what this was. This is worse than Hunger Games-level bloodspill. This is the ham-handed massacre that happens in a post-apocalyptic novel, and book clubs discuss whether the author took it too far.
Or it's something that happened in the past, in black-and-white, to urchins in pea coats and knee socks and we can't even wrap our heads around what it was like back then.