By Wisteria Liberty
First of all, I’d like to applaud the actors for an amazing performance of such a dreadful topic. They executed the scenes very well and were able to milk tears from me and the audience, not that the topic didn’t already do that because it did. I have so many unanswered questions for everyone including, but not limited to, the shooter and his family. I would quickly like to note that I will only call him “the shooter” because he doesn’t deserve to have his name remembered.
The story of Sandy Hook is a very sad one. It happened on December 14th, 2012, when a 20-year-old white male went to his mother’s house, shot her in the head and stole her car to drive to Sandy Hook Elementary School. He then murdered 20 children, between two first-grade classes, and six of their teachers.
At the beginning of the play, I could already tell I was going to cry when I was sitting in my seat reading the trigger warning included in the pamphlet. The topic of school shootings makes me hurt for the families affected. These children had hardly experienced life, they didn’t get to go through what most of us take for granted, it’s truly heartbreaking. I can’t even imagine the pain and loss that comes with losing a child. Not only that, but losing a child in a place that is supposed to be safe and nurture them so they can grow up. To me school shootings seem incredibly ironic in this way.
School shootings also make me scared of the possibility of it happening in my own school. I go to school with pro-gun white teenage males that seem mentally unstable, which seems to be the only demographic committing these types of mass murders at schools. I have big questions about that topic alone. Mainly wtf is so messed up with you, but I’ll leave those for another day.
The actors mentioned the idea of having 28 pebbles instead of 26, which I thought was an interesting concept. They said there would be 26 pebbles dropped into the pond for all of the victims in the Sandy Hook massacre. Each victim’s life would cause a ripple effect going outwards. The ripples were symbolic of all the lives that would be affected by the death of the victims. I thought 28 pebbles was interesting because they wanted to include the shooter’s mother, who he had murdered before going to the school, and it also included the shooter who killed himself after he shot up the class.
That concept of including the killer made me take into consideration the ripples that he would have caused. Would his extreme act of violence and evil inspire others? Would there be copycat killers? Who would be affected by his ripples or actions? Obviously his mom and the 20 kids and 6 staff members were affected because they’re dead. But who else, maybe the people he had grown up with or his friends that thought they knew him?
I’m particularly interested in what motivates something like this. Who hurt him? In every situation I question the parenting. I’m not saying this has anything to do with that or that it’s his parents’ fault but I think there has to be a reason someone can do this. No one was born evil, they had to learn it. This also makes me wonder about his mental illness that was so captivating he murdered 26 people and his mom. Literally who could do something so terrible?
I also liked that the play touched base on his, the shooter‘s, accessibility to guns. If there had been some kind of vetting process for guns, could this whole situation have been avoided, and would there be 27 more citizens in Newtown? Or does that not even matter because his mom was a gun enthusiast and had her own collection. This made me question his upbringing. He was raised in a family that valued guns and guns were his weapon of choice. I’m not pro-gun so I am most definitely biased but how ironic was his mom’s fate. She was a gun enthusiast and raised a murderer that ended up shooting her in the head. Ironic, period.
Thinking of the victims’ parents, a phrase I picked up on was “accidental activist”. One of the actors had been playing a mother and she described herself this way because she began writing letters to her elected officials regarding gun control issues. She said that a situation like this had really opened her eyes. But my question is, how many more school shootings do we need for others’ eyes to be opened the way hers were? How many more kids have to die in school before we make a change? As you can see, I’m left with so many unanswered questions but with no one to answer but myself.