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All the Little Children of the World

by MISSY BEATTIE

By the time you read this, I could be dead.

By the time I submit this, you could be dead.

Because I could decide to go to a mall.  Or you could.

And you—you might be targeted at, well, Target.  Or in a Walmart parking lot.

Your child and/or mine could be at a mall, in a parking lot, at his or her school, gunned up and down.  At any place, any time.

Could be America’s next murderer.

If only God were not absent from classrooms. Because surely God could have prevented that shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, or at any school.

But then why not say, “God should prevent mental illness?”

In fact, why doesn’t God stop a speeding bullet?  Make a gun misfire?  Cause a shooter to trip and blow out his/her own brains, instead of murdering children, others?

And why don’t we examine all issues, in addition to mental illness, gun control, and godlessness, to understand the scope of the problem?  And insist that those we employ as “representatives” or “leaders,” factor in Empire, endless war, torture, droning, the use of weapons of mass destruction, the deaths of the faceless who live so far away.  Although this militarism is a mental illness.

Barack Obama cried, paused, and cried some more—for U.S. children, vowing to do better.  For U.S. children.

Shouldn’t we demand that Congressmen and women and the president scrutinize societal, political, and economic violence that impacts all children throughout the world?

And glorifying war?  The “sacrifice for country,” the “dying to protect our freedoms,” “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here,” and the obscenity of decorating uniforms of servicemen and women with murder medals.

When are we going to be accountable for the deaths in our names?  Not just the deaths of U.S children, but all who die in the line of U.S-foreign-and-domestic-policy fire.

But, oh, he cried.  God bless him, he cried. That could have been one of Obama’s daughters. In fact, Trayvon Martin could have been his son.  Or have you forgotten Trayvon, because there have been so many murder spectacles recently?  In the last few weeks. And Trayvon, well, that story is, oh, so February of 2012.  He shouldn’t have been in that neighborhood, anyway.

Or God should have been in that neighborhood.  Or maybe God was in that neighborhood.

Because people who assume power think they’re God. Right?

Be careful out there, doing whatever.  And be full of caring. When you hug your child or say, “I love you,” be mindful that this may be the last time you see him or her alive.  Or the last time he or she sees you breathing.

Be mindful, too, of all children.  Everywhere.

Missy Beattie lives in Baltimore.  Email: missybeat@gmail.com

 

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in BaltimoreEmail: missybeat@gmail.com

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