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Sandcastles of Life: I can’t imagine the fear they felt

By Tania French

Normally, when I write, I pen lighthearted columns. But today, I feel anything but light-hearted.

Over the past week, I’ve read about the right to bear arms and also anti-gun column.  There have been words of condolences and calls for action. While all seemed to agree that evil struck Uvalde last week, none said the words I feel, or what I want to say.

Heck, I am not even sure the words I am writing will say what I want to say.

As I reflect back over the past week, I can’t imagine the horror that unfolded over a couple hour period that I am sure felt like a lifetime. I can’t imagine the fear – the fear felt by those who gasped their last breaths, the fear of those who prayed for their own lives and the fear that those on the outside with loved ones on the inside felt. 

No, I can’t imagine. It is something no parent should ever have to imagine. 

School is supposed to be a safe place. Teachers should not have to worry about active shooter protocols. Kids should be able to just be kids.

As I write this, I reflect back to a simpler time. Though guns have never been my thing, even as teenager, I had friends that hunted. I can remember that it wasn’t an unusual sight at my high school for students to have gun racks in their trucks. I can’t help but wonder how we got from hunting on the weekends to AR15s. And how did we go from children playing tetherball on the playground to cowering under desks fearing for their lives?

Kids shouldn’t have to live in an adult world. Childhood is meant to be full of wonder and exploration. Sadly, in today’s world, kids are often connected 24-hours a day and many things are glorified on social media. If it’s not the latest Tik-Tok challenge, it’s a killer posting about his intentions.

I have heard many speculations on how we got from there to here, and probably there is some truth in all of them, but today I am not writing about speculations. Today, I am writing about families broken and a community forever changed. I am mourning the loss that resulted from a horror in a town not so very different from ours. Today, I am crying with the mother who lost a child and the father who couldn’t save his daughter. I am crying for the ones whose chance to live was cut way too short.  

Through my years as a journalist, I have met and told the story of many people on the worst day of their lives. But in all the horrors I have covered, I have never had to cover a mass casualty of this magnitude. 

Today, I am sad.

Today, my heart aches for those whose worst day is one I can’t even imagine.

Tania French may be reached via email at

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