Yet somehow, that brief encounter made the horrific news from Newport, Connecticut feel as though it was even closer to home.
A school, likely not all that different from the school Oliver attends. Teachers every bit as dedicated to their charges as Oliver's teachers. Children not much older than Oliver.
Like every parent, every grandparent, every person who has ever cared for a child, my heart is torn in grief for those children, for those teachers, for those families.
The insanity of a political culture that wails in grief while effectively condoning an epidemic of mass murder is simply to much to bear. Already, the NRA and their fellow travellers are playing their propaganda games. One longs for the day when the endorsement of the NRA will be as politically toxic as the endorsement of the KKK.
In the mean time, at least 20 children are dead, brutally slain. Dedicated teachers have died with their charges. An entire community has been rent asunder. A generation of young children have had their innocence destroyed. And all of this with the enthusiastic support of the far right fringe and the effective collaboration of a fearful majority.
Lord have mercy.
O God, whose beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them, give us grace to entrust these innocents to your never-failing care and love, and bring us all to your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Most merciful God, whose wisdom is beyond our understanding, deal graciously with the people of Newtown in their grief. Surround them with your love, that they may not be overwhelmed by their loss, but have confidence in your goodness and strength to meet the days to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The picture is Trinity Church, Newtown, Connecticut, immediately prior to a prayer service earlier this evening.