I heard the somber music and the unrehearsed tones of the commentator on the radio when I went to go to the bank before lunch. It must be very bad, I thought. Then the story spooled out. More than 20 dead, lots of dead children. Shooter dead. I had to turn it off. I played some 40+ year-old music. When I came out to the car from the bank, the commentators were still at it. I turned it off again.
I imagined the horror of the parents on hearing the news without knowing whether their child was dead. I imagined the horror of the adults at the school on seeing the dead children. I imagined the unimaginable horror of the children while they were getting gunned down. I imagined the unthinkable and life-altering conversations that the parents of the surviving children will have with their children who don't actually know what happened.
I tried and failed to imagine how anyone could stand in front of a classroom of eight and nine year-olds and shoot them.
When I got home and read the thoughtless things that people said in the aftermath, I felt sorry. Sorry for us as a civilization that we simply throw up our hands and say that nothing could have prevented this, that this is "not as bad as (fill in the blank)", that a solution is not even worth trying to discuss, let alone implement.