I clearly remember the moment almost eight years ago when I was pregnant with my son Morgan, now 7.
As I sat on my bed and thought to myself that at that very moment, he probably was the safest he would ever be. It was a funny, ironic and strange thought then, and it's still a thought that occurs to me (sadly and often) when I watch the news today.
This week is a shining example of how much this statement still resonates. The horrific and unimaginable beheading of freelance journalist James Foley by ISIS terrorists in Iraq and last week's tragic death of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, take me smack dab to that same thought I had eight years ago.
Who in this world has the right to take the life of another parent's child? Who has the right? No matter the circumstances, I always find myself saying: That was someone's child.
I just can't wrap my brain around the abyss of pain and grief and the unimaginable hell it must be to walk in these parents' shoes. I pray to God I never know it. I'm not more deserving of being spared but I pray nonetheless, I pray to God that they feel the prayers and love and outpouring of strength from friends and loved ones and strangers the world over.
The continuum of other parents who stand with them with their own bowed heads wondering, without any answers, as to how any human being could ever commit such heinous acts against another human being. The beheading in particular is so unspeakable that I find myself unable to put full thoughts on paper. I've tried for days to write about Michael Brown. I have no words. I've been thinking what possible good, what possible silver lining could be found in James Foley's story - maybe five, ten, 15 years from now. I cannot find it.
There simply aren't words to justify the brutality.
How does one person, one group, one anything have the right to assume the authority under any given body or name or religion or purpose to wield the power to do take away the child of another with such unmasked brutality and disregard for human life? I truly do not understand this. I will never understand this. I cannot comprehend the inhumanity. No one could make me understand it, even if only to teach me something as if in an academic exercise, to force me to imagine myself in someone else's shoes or life situation. That, in and of itself, would require becoming something other than human to understand, again, if only for the purposes of imagining.
Words, of which I am never at a loss, have failed me this time. Another person's child.
I recently watched Anderson Cooper interview Michael Brown's parents about what they hoped would happen as the investigation into their son's death went underway and what they believed justice looked like. Mr. Brown urged that the investigation progress slowly so that no mistakes were made and that Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Michael, be sent to prison.
Keep in mind that Michael Brown was shot six times, was unarmed and although there are many conflicting accounts as to what transpired between the officer and Michael, there is absolutely no dispute that Michael was unarmed.
What's more, while Michael's body lay dead on the ground for several hours, family members were not allowed to touch him or hold him--their own child--because his body was--by the time family members arrived at the scene--an official crime scene. You may have seen the video that has been playing over and over again of family members being rushed away by officers as they approached Michael as he lay motionless on the road. t is chilling.
Which brings me back to my original, somber thought: when are our children safest? When they are with us? At school? In our homes? Tucked in at night? In our policed communities? As adults, living their lives and doing their jobs?
Perhaps we don’t know the answer to these questions, or perhaps, the answers are too unsettling to acknowledge. As for me, I’m still pretty sure that my first answer was the correct one.
Until Next Time,