Once again in my life, running is there for me when I'm troubled. We're all dealing with the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut in our own ways. For me, running has been an outlet as I try to process and make sense of this horrific situation. As a father of a young child, the tragedy has hit home in a big, big way. Not since the September 11, 2001, attacks has the foundation of my very being been shaken so badly. Our entire nation is reeling. Indeed, this was a tipping point in finally dealing with our nation's failed mental health system and obsession with violence. This tragedy is every parent's worst nightmare. It doesn't get any worse, and so parents all across this nation are terrified, angry and downright depressed.
Like many, I continue to deal with the Newtown tragedy in stages. On Friday, as I read the news reports coming in, I felt shock and desperately needed information. I wanted to hug my son and hold him tight. On Saturday, I felt anger and despair. I even considered applying for a concealed weapon permit--something that would have been unimaginable a few days earlier since I hate guns (thankfully, I've since disregarded the idea). On Sunday, I was depressed. On Monday, all I wanted was to be close to my son. On my run this morning, I experienced a lot of emotion as I thought about the victims and those beautiful, innocent children who were taken from their families. I'm not afraid to admit that I've cried. I do a tough-guy/tough-girl sport, but inside I'm just a big teddy bear, and anyone who knows me is well aware of that fact.
In times of crisis, it's important that we all have a productive outlet. For me, it's always been running. For others, it might be art, or walking, or cooking.
The Newtown tragedy has reminded me, once again, of the scary fact that there are monsters out there who wish to harm even the most innocent among us--in this case, first-graders, as well as dedicated teachers and school administrators. Simply put, there are very bad people out there, and it's important that they be identified, get the help they need and, if necessary, be removed from society.
None of that happened in this case. And now we have lives taken, families devastated, a community shattered and a nation shaken to its core.