The NFL has announced that it will observe a league wide moment of silence before every game on Sunday, out of respect for the 26 people killed in the Elementary school shooting in Newtown on Friday.
We all know the story, I don’t have to recap it here. We recap things here, that’s our job — to explain things to people and why they happened, or at least do our best to. We’re supposed to talk about why Alex Rodriguez is one of the most overpaied athletes in the history of professional sports, we’re supposed to explain why the NBA is governed by a man who seems to not alway know what he’s doing.
We look at box scores, statistics, highlight reels and game film. This is sports, everything has an explanation, even if we want to sound smart and use hyperbole to say it’s unexplainable sometimes. But while there may not be a rational explanation for why Usain Bolt is so damn fast, there’s some sort of explanation buried underneath it.
What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday has no explanation.
I tried, all day long to think about why this happened. I struggled with finding a reason why 26 people, 18 of which were children at or under the age of 10, not even old enough to fully understand sports and statistics and sports logic, were gunned down.
When I was in kindergarten, the biggest thing I had to worry about was if I wanted to raise my hand for chocolate milk or white milk. Never once did I ever have to worry about a psychopath entering my school and ending my life before it even had a chance to begin. I was worried about getting to be the one kid to sit in the big chair in Mr. Benda’s afternoon class, not whether or not going to a place to begin my educational journey would cost me my life.
What happened was sick. It’s disgusting on every single level of human society and existence. And what makes it so damn hard to deal with is that we have no idea how to explain it. This isn’t sabermetrics, this isn’t figuring out what WARP is, this isn’t even a tragedy.
This goes so far beyond tragedy that it’s hard to even write about let alone try to flirt with coming up with a way to explain it. To call it a tragedy is to try and explain it, and we can’t do that; not this time.
Hurricanes are explainable, terrorism is explainable, mental illness is explainable, but are they all understood. We can explain acts of terror as well as we can scientifically explain a hurricane, but do we understand it.
The events at Sandy Hook Elementary school are proof that while we can build skyscrapers, create economies and give birth to democracies, but we still don’t understand who we are, how we are capable of some of the things we do. This is not an event that ends in a weeks when the news cycle is done with it, this is an event that has scarred children to whom Star Wars is still a brand new thing in their lives.
Don’t think this ends with gun control, whether you support it or not. This is now about the children who have forever had their lives and their psyche violently and brutally altered.
So when it’s time for that moment of silence this Sunday, don’t just treat it like it’s nothing. It’s not a pause before a game, it’s not a contrived display of forced grievance. Think about where you are at that moment, and all the life you’ve lived from when you raised your hand in kindergarten to that very moment and remember the horrifying words the President of the United States had to utter today.
Think about that.
Today gun control didn’t fail us. The president didn’t fail us. Republican or democratic politics and policy didn’t fail us and the media didn’t fail us. Today humanity failed us and there isn’t a more crushing blow to the soul than that.