INNOCENCE LOST - JuniperCivic.com
Serving Middle Village and Maspeth since 1938.

Originally published in the March 2013 Juniper Berry Magazine

INNOCENCE LOST

Children are born of purity, caressed in innocence, virtuous, and moral in every way. They are held closely and gently. The first sound they may hear is the rhythmic, soothing beat of their mother's heart. They feel warmth from loving arms; the soft breath from a tender kiss. Children are free of guilt. They know nothing of regret; are blameless, faultless, and pure of heart, mind and soul.

As the days, months, and years pass they grow curious about the gift of life and all the wonders that await them, and all the possibilities that are within their grasp. They will develop hopes and dreams. They will look up at stars in the night's sky with excitement and anticipation.

On Friday, December 14, 2012, children everywhere went off to school. Some may have been tired and they were brushing the sleep from their eyes. Many of these children were glad it was a Friday. The following day they could play with their friends. Some may have been wondering if they asked for the right Christmas presents, counting down the days until Santa Claus would arrive, and the delight of Christmas morning. And some children were continuing the celebration of Hanukkah, watching with their families as each night a new light on the Menorah began to glow.

All of these thoughts, these wishes, and anticipations vanished in a flash for 20 small children, six adults, in a once quiet town in Connecticut. They were tragically shot down and taken from their family and friends by a soulless, depraved creature who then took his own life.

This tragedy happened in a tight-knit town. The kind of town you see in movies. Where all is right and all is kind, and where people take the time to get to know one another and look out for each and everyone. And now this town and the world are overcome with pain and sorrow.

There are no words to explain this heartbreaking catastrophe and the overwhelming grief the parents, grandparents, the brothers and sisters, sons and daughters of those lives that were lost in such a horrifying way. Many have tried, as am I, but nothing can be written to effectively allow anyone to understand such a heinous, depraved, evil act.

The bible implies that God will not give any of us more than we can bear, or push us beyond our thresholds of pain and grief. But in reality, maybe, just maybe, God does give us way more than we can handle. And He does this on purpose. Because it is only when we can't bear the load that the strength of God will surround us and we then become everything we need and more. I would like to believe this is true but in this case I cannot. Not now.

In a once idyllic town in Connecticut, at the end of the second week in December, 20 innocent, precious lives, ages 6 and 7 year's old ended, along with six adults who devoted their own lives to giving hope, nurturing, and teaching these cherished children about living and loving.

I can't understand how a merciful God would allow this to happen in such a terrifying way. And how those who survived will have to live with what they saw, what they heard, and how they feared for their very own lives.

But the one thing we as a society can do to honor these souls is by looking out for one another, by caring, loving, and protecting each another, and never leaving any one behind. We can do it, and we must do it, so innocence need not be lost again. And maybe one day we will be able to understand.

IN MEMORY OF

Charlotte Bacon, 6 James Mattiloi, 6

Daniel Barden, 7 Grace McDonnell, 7

Olivia Engel, 6 Emilie Parker, 6

Josephine Gay, 7 Jack Pinto, 6

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6 Noah Pozner, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6 Caroline Previdi, 6

Madeleine Hsu, 6 Jessica Rekos, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6 Avielle Richman, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7 Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Jesse Lewis, 6 Allison Wyatt, 6

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Rachel Davino, 29

Victoria Soto, 27

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

March 2013 Juniper Berry Magazine

March 2013 Table of Contents