But the why is almost beside the point.
There’s always a reason — somebody had a beef, or somebody hated life, or somebody couldn’t get a date — but it never helps us understand, never makes it make any sense.
Don’t get me wrong; we grieve when adults die like this, too — and Lord knows that happens far too often.
But it is a special kind of awful when it happens to you, our children. You are our babies, the vessels of our hope.
What kind of people are we, that we murder our own hope?
And here, someone will want me to mention abortion, a medical procedure mommies sometimes use to take the fetus — a fetus is what we call a human being before birth, while it is still developing into a baby — out of their tummies.
That kills the fetus, which is why some people say abortion should be against the law. Many more disagree.
The two sides debate over when, exactly, a fetus becomes a person — in other words, when it should be seen, and protected, as a child.
It’s an argument they’ve been having since I was your age. It’s one they’ll still be having when you are mine.
But here’s the thing: Once you’re born, the argument is over. Once you’re born, no one can deny that you deserve to be seen — and protected — as a child.
And that’s what we haven’t done.
You know, when I was a kid, if you fell off the monkey bars, you could skin your knee or even break a bone because the play yard was covered in concrete. Now that’s less likely because monkey bars are usually mounted over rubber tiles.
We did that to protect you.
And yet, when it comes to the far more dangerous threat of guns, we’ve done almost nothing. That’s because some of us think guns should be easy to get — even if you’re a bad person, even if you’re mentally ill, even if you don’t know how to use one.
In some places, they think you should have guns even if you’re blind. In others, the law actually requires you to own a gun.
We have more guns in this country than people. And more coming all the time.
Ultimately, that’s why Elijah is dead and why so many other kids are, too — because we have done more to protect you from skinned knees than from bullet wounds.
That says a lot about our priorities, none of it good. Oh, don’t get me wrong: You are our children, and we love you very much.
But obviously, we love guns even more.