by Michael Skolnik
This morning I was awoken by sounds of a nine month baby boy trying to learn how to talk. Before the sun shed her glory upon this great nation and through my bedroom windows, I could hear sounds emulating from the room next door. da da da da da da. ma ma ma ma ma ma. ba ba te ta te ta. Like the many days I’ve heard these odd sounds before, I lie still in our bed and listen, quietly. Hoping to get an extra five minutes of sleep, I let the young boy sing his song loudly. The delicate music that awakes me every morning is sung by my son, Mateo Ali. And when I enter his room to hear his concert, the glorious music puts a big smile on his daddy’s face. An absolute perfect way to start the day.
On December 14, 2012, the day started perfectly for twenty six families in Newtown, Connecticut. At 9:35AM a dark cloud began to hover over a small elementary school at the end of a long road, called Sandy Hook. A rain of bullets came pouring down, smothering the beautiful voices of twenty children and six of their protectors. These children were small. Five years old small and six years old small. Fighting helplessly against a gun that was almost bigger than them. Some took three bullets to die. Some took eleven. But they all eventually went silent.
We promised. We made promises. This was it. This was the breaking point. This was the point of no return. This was as bad as it ever could get. How could we let this happen? To children. To five year old children. To six year old children. To their protectors. We all cried. We all screamed. We all fell to our knees. In prayer. In silence. In devastation. And promised that this would never happen again. Whatever conversation we had avoided for years to have as a nation, we were prepared to have it. And when the conversation began, too many people went silent.