When Waukesha Alderman Paul Ybarra saw the news reports about the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on Friday, he immediately started sending messages to his co-workers in Connecticut.
“Please tell me your child wasn’t in that classroom,” Ybarra wrote them.
Ybarra works for Tangoe, a company in Orange, CT. The business’ corporate office is about 15 minutes from Newtown, CT, where 20 elementary school students and six adults were gunned down by Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old man with Aspberger’s.
One after another, co-workers responded to Ybarra’s messages: No.
But 30 minutes later, a heartbreaking message was sent to Ybarra.
One of the company’s administrative assistants lost her 6-year-old son in the massacre. Ybarra is not publicly naming the woman or her son out of respect for the family.
Ybarra’s interacted with the woman, whom he called a “sweetheart.”
“It is just one of those things – I don’t know you come back from that,” Ybarra said.
Despite the tragedy being states away – and even countries away – the little boy’s death is felt here in Wisconsin. It also has affected Tangoe’s European employees.
“It is just a ripple effect,” said an emotional Ybarra. “The ripple effect goes across the boarders.”
“You feel sad for them, you feel angry and upset,” Ybarra added. “Who do you blame? You feel a little bit hopeless.”
There are no easy answers, said Ybarra, who doesn’t want to politicize the tragedy.
“I think as a parent, all you can do is give your kid a huge hug and be thankful that we haven’t had anything like that happen here,” Ybarra said.