I feel like writing because writing is my outlet. My therapy. With the events that have unfolded in Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton,CT, it is hard to fathom their pain. I don’t want to. I don’t want to even go there. I won’t allow myself to imagine or contemplate those children and their families. I don’t want to hear about the brave teachers or scared 5, 6 and 7 year olds. I have not watched the news or coverage since the story broke. I have been keeping up by reading intermittently online. Also facebook is blowing up with some wonderful comments, tearful condolences and idiocy.
“Now is not the time to talk of gun control.”
“Now is the time to talk of gun control.”
“I have a friend who’s sister’s brother-in-law’s, cousin lives in Newton.”
“We need to put God back in schools.”
“We need to lock up the mentally ill.”
“We need to focus on treatment of mental illness.”
“We need to hug our children and pray.”
“If one of those teachers was armed, this guy wouldn’t have killed so many.”
“God is teaching us a lesson.”
The list goes on. I agree with some, and with some, not so much.
There is no reason. There is no answer in this chaos. There is no cut and dry solution. I never understood the need for guns, unless you hunt for your food. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Controlling who gets guns and what kind they get, might help. When you can walk into a Walmart, fill out a piece of paper with an id, and purchase a semi-automatic rifle, it just makes no sense to me. An id should not be the only requirement. Anyone ever hear of a fake id? Anyone ever wonder if a Walmart “associate” would be more or less apt to spot a fake id? Maybe there should be a more lengthy process to obtain such a weapon. There should be a psych evaluation involved when purchasing weapons; a series of questions as to WHY in the HELL anyone would want or need a weapon of mass destruction. That is what it is. The speed in which the bullets are fired, can kill dozens at a time. And did the founding fathers really want to protect the rights of those that want to buy military style weapons for “recreational” use? But gun control is not the only subject to consider.
As far as God in the schools, talking of God in schools will do no good if faith is not in the home. And who is to say what was taught in the home of that killer? Besides that, even if God was taught in both the home and the school, how would that cure mental illness? How would that compensate for the chemical imbalance or damage in the brain tissue? I don’t think God had anything to do with this tragedy. I don’t think that God “lets” these things happen. I think they just do. Terrible things happen and God is always there to pick up the pieces. God is there as the comfort and the solace. God is not plotting ways to teach society a lesson. God is not stepping away because he is not ‘welcome’ in schools. God is there no matter what, when ever and where ever we are. God is in our hearts no matter what. That is just my belief. I don’t know if it is correct, but I pray to God to help those families. I pray that they can continue another day. I pray and pray and pray.
I have no answers. I had to tell my First Born - 9 year old - what happened, because I knew he would hear of it in school, from friends. I sat him down and said that a man went into a school an shot and killed many people. His first reaction was, “It was in a High School, right?” Fighting back tears, I had to tell him that it was not a high school but an elementary school. He said, “Wow, that is bad, like real bad! Mom, why did this guy do it?” I told him that we don’t know. I told him that his brain did not work right and there might be no reason that he did what he did. It was just a horrible, horrible thing. First Born looked at me and shook his head. I told him to say a prayer and whenever he thought of it again to say another prayer and another.
He grew up a little more after that talk. He lost a sliver more of innocence. He was forced to deal with an adult matter, like mental illness and evil acts. It is such a fine line to walk when you have kids. How much do you tell? What do you leave out? How much information can I give without it terrifying him?
Mental illness needs cures. Like cancer and other diseases. We need to value people with mental illness and work to help them. It affects us all in one way or another. If we don’t work to recognize and diagnose the problem with an individual, it can turn into a societal problem. If we cut funding to school nurses, psychologists and counselors, who will be there to help the struggling child? Who will be there to catch the socially awkward little boy who may be able to do the work, but needs something else.
There are so many different kinds of mental illnesses and defects and disorders that so much more needs to be done. It is hereditary. There are problems that occur because the way the brain is formed in utero and there are problems that occur because of being brought up in a completely screwed up environment (which is said to also change the brain chemistry.) Drugs and alcohol play a huge part in altering the brain and sometimes coincide with the mental illness.
The stigma needs to be lifted and the problems can not be ignored. I know that I have struggled with anxiety and depression. I take antidepressants. I am always monitoring the way my kids handle stress. I have provided therapy for First Born, when he was having difficulties with a bully in school and the struggles of having me in a hospital for almost 3 months. I go to therapy myself periodically when I feel I need it. A good friend called them “mental tune ups.” People should not be afraid to get the help when they need it and they should not be made to feel “less than.”
I don’t have any answers. I don’t know. We need to love our children. We need to take care of them with the full weight of that responsibility. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, CT, rocked our world. Pray for them. It reminded us of how precious life and little ones are. It reminded us of the amazing hearts of our teachers. The horrific acts make no sense. It is unfathomable. And it will forever change the way we as parents feel, when we walk away from the school, after dropping off our precious ones.