I share my own story of Newtown. I watched the coverage that day and got calls from friends and family, "Are you okay?" They asked because I live about 45 minutes from Newtown. At first the questions annoyed me but as the day progressed and I saw more and more images of children fleeing the elementary school, I knew I wasn't okay.
I had three small kids at the time and I discuss in the episode how Newtown haunted me, like it haunted a lot of parents who wondered if their school would be next. This fear became an obsession, a dark and recurring thought, one that trailed me across months and eventually years.
An editor I knew contacted me as the fourth anniversary of the shooting approached. I told him I didn't want to revisit the massacre and he said he didn't either. He said he wanted to do a story on teddy bears.
I laughed at him, but he was serious. The idea he had in mind was about the burden of receiving too many condolence gifts, and I spend the rest of the episode discussing what I saw and heard and felt when I went to Newtown to do that story, one that quickly veered from care packages to some of the core conflicts of the human condition: about why we appropriate grief, and who it ultimately benefits.
I still think about my visit to Newtown when I read a headline about another mass shooting.