From One Survivor to Another

December 15, 2012

on age and the Sandy Hook shooting

[content warning: child sexual abuse, mass shootings]

we have a conflicting narrative in this culture— kids are precious and should be protected at the same time that they are objects for our entertainment.

a lot of people say that the problem is we don’t protect our kids enough. but i think it’s a problem with not treating our kids like human beings. everyone is mourning the death of these children, while at the same time we are starving, even bloodthirsty, for interviews with the traumatized survivors— kids who don’t even know how to verbalize what just happened to them.

again and again, we’ve had nationwide scandals on child sexual abuse— the boy scouts, the catholic church, and penn state. it has become clear to me that we have a problem with age. in all of these cases, we have children being seen as objects to be abused. then when they finally gather the courage to speak out, they are re-traumatized as the people around them throw disbelief in their faces. children cannot possibly be trustworthy, honest, or reliable, people say. not in the face of these adults with their age, social clout, and perfect moralities. translation: children are not human.

maybe this massacre was worse than almost all of the others because it’s easier to kill subjects that you don’t consider human. it’s a lot easier to hurt someone who can’t defend themselves verbally. it’s much easier to hurt someone who has been considered less human than everyone else. 

and let’s not forget the racialized component here, either. when Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old boy, is shot in cold blood, media outlets call him a “young man” while his mom cries about losing her baby. when a 20 year old white man kills twenty children, we call him a kid. 

age is important here. how we treat our kids, and how human we consider them, is very important.

edit: i got the age wrong. Ryan, the falsely accused brother, was 24. The actual shooter, Adam, was 20.

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