Sandy Hook

Ghost bike

I got back from my ride this morning to a link sent to my by my wife. It was for a piece on the shooting in Sandy Hook. My day took a nose dive I could not have anticipated, one that I struggle to understand.

I know no one who has been able to take the recurring shootings here in the U.S. in stride, anyone who has been able to process these in a way that leaves them unscathed. But this one is different because so many of the victims were children. We speak of how children are our future and while that’s true, what we see when we look at children isn’t the future, not mine, not yours. What we see is potential.

I’d like to think potential is what keeps so many of you coming back to RKP week after week. The bicycle is a means to an unknown but better future. It’s a good time waiting to happen. It’s an expression of a better, stronger, smarter us. It’s a fresh connection, a new friend, a strengthened bond with on old friend, the thread of our social fabric. It’s a bee line out of the doldrums, faster acting than Prozac, and a chance to see something remarkable with each new turn.

My love of the bicycle has, I hope, taught me something of how to love my son. He is nothing if not potential with a heart beat. He might race bikes. He might take up gymnastics. He might play soccer. He could easily do all of those things—in the same week. I don’t really care which of them he does. It’s been enough to see him have fun and to watch how the possibilities play out. He’s that book of a lifetime, the story that I can’t wait to see unfold. I don’t care where the story goes, even if it leads to stoner Xbox addict. I’m willing to give him the room to explore the great big world.

When I think of all those families in Sandy Hook, my heart breaks. All those lives, all those stories we’ll never see play out. Who knows what those kids might have done. A cure for cancer, an Olympic Gold medal, President of the United States—they were tales unwritten; they might have done anything.

Go hug the people you love.


  1. Gnome

    Thanks for the words, Padraig. I have a 5 year old in public school here in Phoenix. I want to lay my wrenches down, and go get him, and simply be there with him for a while. I share all of your sentiment regarding the matter. I am so concerned for life and this place we live in.

  2. Justin

    Beautiful. What a painful day. Can’t wait to get home and hug my wife and daughter, as I do every day after work. Today’s hug will be a little bit tighter and held a beat longer.
    I feel for the parents. Sad.

  3. DavidA

    This act of depraved violence upon innocent kids really hurt me today. I wept on the way home from work. This kind of thing shakes the very core of human existence. Something is really wrong in a society where monsters can roam the hallways with guns and execute 5 and 6 yr olds. All the heartache and pain that will resonate for decades in the lives of the children and moms and dads left behind as they try to piece their lives back together. If you thought pure evil didnt exist, look no further than Sandy Hook. All my prayers and thoughts to those left behind in the aftermath.

  4. Ryan Hedemark

    I cannot comprehend such horror. I nearly broke down when I got home & hugged my kids & their mother today with this in the back of my mind. There is a special place in Hell for someone who could perpetrate such an indescribably insidious massacre & I hope that bastard burns there for Eternity.

  5. tinytim

    More money needs to be spent on the mentally ill. Theres always going to be a small minority of folks who are chemically imbalanced and/or didn’t get the memo that killing people is morally not right. This type of event does happen throughout the world, but it seems much more prevelant in the US. I think that our society’s combination of fierce individualism, lack of sufficent public healthcare, and access to easy guns (another American social nerosis)is to blame. Maybe eventually, we, as a country can give up our guns.

  6. Ryan Surface

    My heart sank as I saw the headline come across my phone this morning, I agree with Ryan’s “special place in hell” comment. As much as I cannot fathom what leads someone to shoot children I can’t being to imagine being one of those parents. Thoughts and prayers for all of them. Hugging my girl extra long today.

  7. Pingback: Tonight’s post, which is not about bicycling at first, though I try to make up for it later « BikingInLA

  8. Nick

    Just to broaden the dialogue, I know plenty of people who don’t feel the same level of shock and incomprehension shared here because gun violence is a part of their daily lives. They send their children to school in neighborhoods (that they’d move out of if they had the resources) because everyday they worry that their children may not come back. This does not reduce Friday’s tragedy in any way, rather it shows that similar tragedies are taking place almost daily through the US.

    Those of us working in the wide range of community services hear about these horrible losses all the time from our clients and patients who lose children and loved ones. We would absolutely love the support of people who feel touched by these tragedies. Support can look like many things: supporting tax measures that help fund mental health services, regularly volunteering time or donating money, even changing your career to one that works to address the problems. We can stop these heinous acts, but it takes all of us working together.

  9. Stepbrother

    Absolutely a horrific event.

    The even equally as sad reality is that no schools, places or worship or public venues are truly safe anymore. Varying degrees of overt & covert security measures can be implemented in the the aforementioned venues but there will always be a means of breaching those measures.

    Even on school settings, we as a society are unwilling to accept limited access or movement restrictions. Short of TSA fashioned screenings or a daily lockdown, we can only hope & pray that there are no reoccurrences. Sad but true.

  10. Khal Spencer

    My little niece Olivia drove me and my wife batty the first time we met her a few years ago. Now, she is a wonderful high school kid who is headed for valedictorian, who sings, dances, and plays two instruments. Thank God she is here with us. Who knows what those little kids could have been.

  11. Craig

    “I know no one who has been able to take the recurring shootings here in the U.S. in stride”

    Perhaps you should speak to some expatriates who call the US home. I moved to the US with a full appreciation of its culture of nonchalant and indiscriminate violence. The US lives in a bubble when it comes to gun ownership. In no other country is it considered normal, or even okay, to own a gun in the way that people in the US do.

    Many people overseas (and many expatriates living in the US) see such massacres as an unfortunate but normal part of life in the US.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *