Yesterday I spent most of the day in the car driving my kids home from a fun, long weekend at my parents house. We listened to songs on the radio, talked and for about 20 minutes, they slept and I enjoyed the silence.
After I got them home, fed, bathed and tucked in, I turned on the news and saw the footage of the tornado in Oklahoma.
I remember 1995 when the Oklahoma City bombing happened. Hearing about their latest disaster brought up the same feelings, thoughts and prayers that flooded my head and heart when Sandy Hook occurred and the Boston Marathon bombing.
On my couch, exhausted after a day of traveling, I only watched for 15 minutes before I went to bed. At the gym this morning I watched a bit more. I heard the death count go from 51 (20 of which were children), to less than 25 total, to an "unconfirmed amount of causalities."
I saw mothers grip their children as they emerged from the rubble that was their school just minutes before. I listened to the acts of heroism and selflessness by several teachers from the two elementary schools. Those children are alive because of those teachers.
There was a story of a couple who dug through the ruins of their house for hours and finally found their family dog, alive.
Sandy Hook, Columbine, the Aurora movie theater, Virginia Tech- they were all man-made tragedies. Those attacks were manifested and carried out by our own. There is a person, or a group of people, to blame. We see their pictures, hear their names and we know who they are and what they did. The media inundated us with possible motives and background stories of these criminals.
Society seems to get some comfort in solving the equation; A happened because of B.
We become so passionate about making sure A never happens again that we write and rewrite legislation. We attempt to develop stricter background checks. We feel the need to create a list of potential future offenders based on what we know about our most recent attacker.
There is no one is the blame for what happened in OK on Monday. There is nothing anyone could have done to stop it this time, next time, or the time after that.
I'm not sure which notion makes me feel better, in the end innocent people died. However, I will choose to focus on the fact that the tornado was beyond any of our control.
Yesterday's tragedy was an act of nature. Not people senselessly, maliciously killing other people.
This was an unstoppable force and no amount of picketing, right-wing or left-wing agenda would have changed the outcome. (I'm not getting on a political soapbox here. That's not what I'm about.)
For now, let's be thankful for what we have individually and as a nation, help if and when we can and move forward- together.