Norway is one of those countries that I think…it could never happen there. But it did. Senseless violence. Hatred. And a grieving nation.
News in the U.S. is filled with stories of violence and hate. I often ignore it…or I would live in fear everyday for myself, my children, my family, and my friends. No, I don’t live under a rock. I know that evil and hate exist. And if I should know about a particular awful story (or stories), I’m certain my husband and/or Facebook friends would let me know.
But this time, I’m the one that woke up on Friday morning to the news that a bomb had gone off in downtown Oslo. And I immediately woke up my husband. He called his parents and fortunately, our immediate family was not affected. Shock underscored the voices on the other end of the line and we hung up so his parents could listen to the breaking news on NRK while my husband searched the Norwegian news sites for more information.
What was revealed were actions so deeply rooted in hatred, you cannot believe one person could have conceived of them. I won’t go into details here. The headlines worldwide are filled with them. My concern is more focused on the families reeling from the pain of losing their loved ones, their children.
The kids on the island were about 15 to 17 years old. Kids coming together to discuss their political similarities, to see old friends and make new ones. It was, as the prime minister mentioned …paradise from his childhood…
What troubles me is that a lone gunman, in his demented state believed that this was all to those kids. That political leanings were what defined them…and they did not. These kids were someone’s sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandkids, cousins, friends. They were multi-dimensional with so many more interests in their lives – sports, travel, journalism, science, charity and more. To kill any of them because of political beliefs they held at such a young age accomplished nothing. Who knows if they would have become a political party leader, driving their interests in the government. They were so young, filled with hopes and plans for their futures. Some may have become doctors, teachers, explorers, scientists, world-class athletes. Who can know? Who will ever know?
Their lives were cut short. For a belief, a bond they shared with like minds. No one should ever be killed for that.
Ideas do not die by killing people. Beliefs do not wither away. To kill a human being, particularly a kid, will not kill the idea or the future manifestation of that idea. In fact, in the face of such tragedy, resolve becomes stronger.
Nine years. That’s what news stories are saying now about how long this madman may have been planning his actions on Friday. Nine years ago, those kids would have been about 6 to 8 years old. As a mother of 7-year-olds, I can’t help but think about what those kids were doing then – playing in the sand pit? Climbing a play structure? Learning to ride a bike? As parents, we watch our children develop and strive to understand their particular strengths and interests. To the extent we can, we encourage those interests and hope we can create an environment for them to thrive.
Whenever I think of my children’s futures, I imagine them as adults on their own, graduated from college, well into their careers. The thought that their lives could be cut so short in their teens does not enter that picture; as I’m certain it never did for the parents of those 80+ Norwegian kids.
We continue to shed many tears for the kids and their families, along with the rest of Norway. Our hearts and prayers are with them, wishing them all strength in the coming days, weeks and months.
An original post to It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog.