And of course, there are the grown men and women whose families are mourning as well.
And then there is -- or was -- the killer. I was going to say that I cannot bear to put myself in the place of his mother. But of course, he killed her too.
From what I've been reading, which may or may not prove to be accurate, the killer was 20 years old, and "socially awkward." I don't know whether he was bullied, and if so, whether the trail leads all the way back to experiences in that same school. I don't know whether he was striking out at the school, or if he attacked children because he had to do something obviously, ultimately evil and unforgivable, to put an end to the exhausting possibility of personal redemption.
I have had dreams in which I did something terrible, and gradually started to realize it, and to wonder why, and to look for some escape from having done it. I wonder whether Adam Lanza had a moment a little like that, after it was much too late. I wonder if he looked around at the blood and the little bodies, and thought it must surely be a dream, and tried to wake up.
It does no good at all, to anyone, if he had such a moment. But the possibility lets me feel a tentative and conditional sorrow for him as well. I would rather feel that than hatred. But then, I am one of the lucky ones. My children are grown and almost grown, and I've seen one tonight, and spoken to the other.
If it were otherwise, then I would hate.
But for tonight, I will allow myself the luxury of not having to hate, and of sorrow instead.