You will never read this, but I wanted to pen a letter to you anyway. I know that during this unbearably grievous and surreal time, people will look for answers. They will look for explanations as to why this all happened. They will find what they hope can pass for the right answer. But they won't really find the right answer. Instead they will look for ways to grieve. Gun control will be debated. Vigils will be held. The killer's profile will be aired over and over again, until no one will ever be able to forget where they were on Friday, December 14, 2012. I have no interest in debating gun control although I feel it is a conversation that needs to happen. I also have no interest in psycho-analyzing the shooter to determine specifically which disorder caused this tragedy. My interest lies squarely in you. Since learning your identity last week, I've Googled your name. I've Facebooked you. I've even attempted to look you up on LinkedIn. I want to know everything about you.
Just googling you gives me a reason to get up the morning. Beautiful, friendly, caring, inspirational - I am assuming smart. I do not know you, but the opening paragraph of every article characterizes you as having most or all of these traits. By every account you were a great person who still deserves to be here - and I am having a very difficult time reconciling my faith in karma and humanity with the sobering realization that along with the innate harmony we find in this world there is an element of blind chance. I have long tormented myself with the inner struggle over why terrible things can happen to great people. It has ripped my heart to pieces as I watch good people forced to deal with the worst of life's drawbacks. My friend Andrew who collapsed with a brain tumor and later died, my grandfather - a once-brilliant man now coping with the realities of Alzheimer's, every teen to ever die in a car. And now you.
By every account, you did what everyone who knew you would expect of you - selflessly laying yourself down so that 20 others could carry on. All of the interviews reiterate the same thing - they knew you would do this. How much can be said about a person that is universally loved without even an introduction?
I find myself heartbroken over the disaster that was Friday. All 26 people are wearing on me like a suit of chainmail only sadly heavier. As an American - I find that these events are often swept under the rug. We go through the motions of grieving. Candles will be lit and songs will be sung. Flowers will be dedicated and statues will be carved. Sure, we can memorialize people and events, but how do we memorialize emotion? How do we create a permanent feeling of profound grief, shock, awe, compassion, bravery, and nobility? What can we do to ensure that the Victoria Sotos of the world - the beautiful girls that serve as one of the sole reasons I get up in the morning - remain safe?
The greatest element of my internal conflict over why good things happen to bad people is the fact that - in relation to those amazing people I have had to watch suffer - I am not a good person. I do not have the effect on people that you do. I do not touch lives on a day-to-day basis; seeing me is not the highlight of everyone's day. When I have shuffled off of this mortal coil, people will not stop and interrupt you to sing my praises. And so I sit idly by and watch as you and your sorority of great people have to suffer.
I wish it were Thursday night. I could get into my car, drive the 6 hours to CT and tell you to stay home Friday. I could let you know that you deserve the day off, and that I can go in and sub for you. I could be the one to get snuffed out prematurely, as I am most certainly more deserving of this fate than you are. This is not some narcissistic attempt to make it about me, or to show how chivalrous I am, or to make it seem like I could be a hero too. For all I know I could chicken out at the last minute and run and save myself. All I want is to take the pain away. I would gladly suffer this fate a thousand times as long as I could take comfort in the knowledge that you can remain free and uninhibited from making the world a better place.
Know that you are in my thoughts, you are in my emotions, you are in my soul. We have never met, but I am already a much better person now that I have gotten to know you.
Thank you, Victoria.