Saturday, December 15, 2012

Hearts In Newtown



"Shattered"

That is the single word that headlines the Huffington post this morning and as I sit here this morning struggling to try to find the words to talk about this tragedy, I can not think of a better one than "shattered". Yesterdays events in Newtown, Connecticut seemed to emerge as if from a fog...first the initial horrific news that shocked us all and then the conflicting reports that trickled continue to trickle out as the world stands by hands over our hearts and holding back tears as we struggle with one question that no one can seem to answer.....why? How can anyone do this?!

What possible pain,...grievance,....mental, or emotional disturbance could have ever led someone to target children in this way. They could not have done any conceivable harm to the man who burst into their school with an intent to harm as many people as possible. I can't even type his name on the page....I won't. Doing so feels like humanizing him more than I am able to do right now. 20 children are not at home for Christmas this year and those families are missing their children because of him. And for those families, my husband and myself...as well as parents everywhere...ache for the pain they are experiencing and wishing for the life of us that we could do something....anything...to help. But what can anyone do in the wake of something so horrible but hold each other tightly and try to understand why this happened. Would understanding even help?


As the news came in and we began to comprehend what happened, the first thought I had were to the parents who were rushing to the school hoping to find out that their children were not one of the injured or dead.....the terror that would be in my own heart. Not more than a couple of hours ago, those families had done just what ours had....dropped their kids at off at school, gave them big hugs and told them they would see them after school. I do that everyday with no thought that they may not be there at the end of the day. What makes it so much worse is that so many were kindergartners....so small and so excited to be going to school for the first time and at the same time clutching on to our legs and not wanting to let go. And no matter how strong we want to seem to our kids so they can be confident going to school, inside we just want to hug them back and cry too. We have so many hopes and dreams for them and Kindergarten is such a big step in their growth. It's one of those moments when you wish you could keep them small forever. I have been there with both of my kids and it's why I am crying as I write this....there are no words for what those parents are feeling right now. What would I have done if this had happened to my kids? It could have...it still can...because it did happen here. I think parents across America must be feeling this right now. It may not have happened to each of us directly, but that pain is all to easy to understand and we stand, in support of those missing their children so badly and struggling with the pain.


Among those feelins is also the mute rage that I know I am feeling. Not only at the man who did this but also at the people who want to reduce this unspeakable event into a political opportunity. Like those who blame taking prayer out of schools and saying it is God's punishment...or at the very least that he did nothing to stop it because of that. How callous and unloving a response to something so unthinkable and painful ...how utterly unchristian. In the hour that we can not stop the tears there are those who feel no pain at all and chose  instead to point fingers as if they understand it all....they can't because none of us do. Instead of laying that blame we should be drawing together and helping those who need it the most right now. I don't care if that tragedy is the destruction wreaked by a hurricane or the loss of those so precious to us. We need to help and heal what we can not look for some imagined fault. Have a dam heart people and practice the love you preach on Sunday.

And the gun control conversation is necessary to have, yet it still feels so painful right now. The man who did this took four guns designed for warfare....not hunting or sport...an automatic rifle and handguns to do this. Whats more, they were legally purchased by his mother who he then shot with those same guns. Anyone who doesn't think there is something wrong with that isn't in their right mind or being willfully blind. Hell...I have even heard it said that maybe if the school had hidden guns on site, no one would have died.....bullsh*t! Something is wrong with the way we handle gun ownership in this country. That much is clear. And now there are 20 grieving families as a result. Who the hell needs an automatic assault rifle?!.. and who thought there wasn't nothing amiss when a middle-aged, suburban, substitute teacher wanted to buy one? Did no one get any red flags over that or were they only concerned with the money of the sale?! And I can not fathom for the life of me what was going on in this ladies mind when she bought this type of gun....probably for her son. It is frustrating and infuriating. But, as I listen to people argue about this online and on t.v....I can't get my mind off the kids. I can't think about guns when I can't get the reports of what happened to stop echoing in my mind...the fear and terror these kids went through and how much they just wanted to go home. I cry my eyes out and I just want to hug my kids and be grateful while remembering the 20 families out there that now have a hole in their lives that can not be repaired because of the random cruelty of one man that to this moment no one understands.


I will think of this everyday that I drop my kids off at school and I think I will hug them a little tighter. I will probably worry a little more...that's what we parents do. But I also know that we have to keep moving and living. We can not let the actions of cruel men make us afraid, nor stop us from living. That is the only piece of wisdom I have, the rest of me just hurts for these families as if they are my own.

I don't know if there will ever be answers suitable to bring understanding to what happened. Even when we know why the shooter did this, we may still wonder how he could have come to those conclusions...or how anyone could do that to a roomful of children. It defy's thought, the words to describe...and the reasoning of my heart...and I can not get it out of my head.

This will be another one of those days the nation will remember forever. It will be another candle to light in sadness and in memory. But I also hope this changes us...not to become more fearful  but  more compassionate and aware of the way we live. How fragile our lives are and how suddenly they can change. It is a very small world we live in and what happens in it effects us all in some manner. We have to rely on each other, support each other, defend each other, love each other like our own or we will find ourselves again as we are today....shattered.

Our hearts and prayers are with you Newtown.

Until next time dear readers....go out an hug your kids today(or someone you love) and don't ever let go...


17 comments:

  1. I'm curious as to how he was ever able to get into the school to begin with. I'm not familiar with schools up north but in Florida they are all fenced in and you have to pass through the office and show and ID to get into the campus. You also have to have a background check first. I feel like the school system failed these kids. 20 babies lost their lives in this horrible tragedy. The person who let him in is just as guilty as he is. I would lay my life down to protect any child.

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  2. The day we start turning our kindergartens and elementary schools into prison like high security zones with armed guards, metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs, then we have truly lost our freedoms.

    If gun ownership makes us safer, then how come we aren't that safe? The United States is #1 in the world for gun ownership per capita: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/12/15/what-makes-americas-gun-culture-totally-unique-in-the-world-as-demonstrated-in-four-charts/

    Our culture is in dire need of change.

    “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” ~ Jimi Hendrix

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    1. Appreciate the Hendrix quote. I saw this as a bumper sticker yesterday. I definitely let my freak flag fly musically, and it's good to see another of my own kind here.

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  3. NOBODY should be able to purchase semi automatic weapons. The framers of the Constitution could not look into the future and see that human beings would create such things. You cannot go hunting with them Their only purpose is to kill people..LOTS of them and quickly. I also think of our police officers. As I am sure Jay will agree..putting these weapons in the hands of the public is very threatening to the men and women who are out there putting their lives on the line to protect us.
    Please give Daniel and Selena a hug from us here in Ohio. Your children and the children killed are ALL of our children... They are our future.

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  4. Interestingly the NRA has taken down their website. I'd like to think it was out of respect. I know better. It was out of fear. Merry Christmas, NRA.

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    1. Or maybe this was the handiwork of hackers. Way better than a lump of coal in your Christmas stocking.

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  5. This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but I believe that any sort of gun reform we have will do no good whatsoever. We are a nation that promotes violence and ignores mental illness, and we are just north of a country that has problems with criminal activity spilling over into our country. Until those problems are solved any gun control we have is just asking for black market activity. I don't think that people should have assault rifles, but outlawing them is only treating the symptom.

    I agree that it's crap that arming the teachers would have prevented this. I don't know where people get the idea that people become heroes out of a John Wayne movie just because they're handed a gun.

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  6. Over the years, we keep on having gobs of mass shootings, be they in schools or elsewhere. I am not a parent and, in terms of a child’s best interests, am probably too old to become one now, but this particular shooting got to me in ways others haven’t. It’s much harder to bear when most of the victims are 6 and 7 year olds. Many changes need to be made, such as banning high capacity magazines for civilian use and strict mental health screenings, or else these kind of shootings will keep on happening. The notion of insanity being defined as doing the same of crap the same ineffective way yet expecting a different result applies to mass shootings too.

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  7. @zeromoogle....that notion seems to say that we should not do anything at all and thats not ok. If we can make police fulfill rigorous testing obligations to carry guns...why not joe schmoe down the street. Currently we have more prerequisites and checks and balances for driving a car than we do own and using a gun in most states. Its rediculous...and this Saturday i will have more to say about it.
    Bryan

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  8. @zeromoogle....that notion seems to say that we should not do anything at all and thats not ok. If we can make police fulfill rigorous testing obligations to carry guns...why not joe schmoe down the street. Currently we have more prerequisites and checks and balances for driving a car than we do own and using a gun in most states. Its rediculous...and this Saturday i will have more to say about it.
    Bryan

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    1. I didn't mean that we shouldn't do anything about it. I just feel like there are other things that need to be changed if we want gun control to have any affect.

      It's frustrating for me because I have mixed feelings about this issue. Both sides of the gun control argument make very good points, but they are also prone to using bad logic when backed into a corner. Neither side wants to get down to the real issue. Pro-gun people believe that if we are everybody was armed this sort of thing will never happen, and anti-gun people want to ban guns like that will solve all of our problems.

      We are a nation that celebrates violence. I work at a public library, and the churches around here freaked out because some kids caught a glimpse of a penis on a computer monitor and pressured the library to put filters on their computers. Guess what those filters don't prevent children from seeing? I'm always seeing kids looking up graphically violent videos, and nobody has anything to say about it. As a library worker, I'm pretty hesitant to say anything should be censored, but I think this kind of shows what kind of values we are teaching our children. It's no wonder that mental illness manifests itself so violently.

      You are right about the double standards when it comes to the attitude people have towards guns. Vehicle licensing is just one example. I have two pit bulls, which have done more to protect my home than any gun could. They're not vicious in any way, but their bark scares off most would be intruders. The crazy drunken redneck who lives behind me is always shooting small prairie creatures, despite the fact that it's illegal to fire off a weapon so close to a residence, but he's always telling me how dangerous my dogs are. I'm more afraid of being hit by a stray bullet than I am of being mauled to death by one of my dogs. It's crazy that some cities are banning dog breeds, but anybody can get a gun.

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    2. As far as mental illness goes, I'm tired of people not treating it like the public health issue that it is. I keep seeing these arguments that we shouldn't be forced to pay for the health care of people who can't pay for it, but situations like this prove that it is a public health issue and that we need to get these people help. By all means, tax me and use the money to make sure that people with mental illness are treated so that they don't harm other people.

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    3. Sorry for the third post, but I keep thinking of things I have to say on the subject.

      I live in a small community (not even a village) outside of Roswell, NM. Roswell has less than 50,000 people, yet there have been several years where it's crime rate is worse than Albuquerque's. Roswell is also becoming a hot spot of the drop off for drugs from Mexico. We have plenty of meth labs around town, but when ingredients became a little harder to buy in bulk the Mexican drug cartels were more than happy to supplement the little bit that locals make. My fear is that if guns become harder to come by, the cartels would start smuggling in more guns than they already do.

      I guess my point boils down to gun violence being more complicated than simple gun control. By all means, make people get licenses and make them harder to get, but I sincerely believe that it will do no good unless we address other problems.

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  9. i have been absent the last couple posts i realized....
    this one i need to reread, and i havent even read the last one, somehow.

    a friend asked the question what should we do? gun control laws, as they are, only prevent the citizens that obey the laws from having guns when they are needed. gangs more than ever before are militarizing themselves by not only outgunning the people in their neighborhood but the cops too as well as using military tactics in their operations. the lone gunman situations as horrific and polarizing as they are are not the largest concern.

    i firmly believe an armed society is a polite society as long as that society does everything in its power to counter blood feuds that consume whole families/towns. do we need assault rifles? my inner conspiracy theorist/paranoid nut says yes, because all it takes for a foreign army to succeed is for the populace to complacently believe that they do not need to protect themselves. it can happen, we are not immune.

    that said i dont like guns. i was the crazy kid that in a fit of rage went straight for the throat after being assaulted to bloody by a 'friend.' i dont play with any of that, if i am put in a situation that i need to take a life i want to see that life fall from those eyes- because it is horrific and we should do all we can to not have to be in that situation. this view is part of why i have the nickname 'killer'(r.i.p. justin).

    i think the answer lies in teaching people to be kinder to one another and themselves. in teaching that no idea or concept or arrogance is worthy of being allowed to end lives (because we could be wrong and who wants that egg on their face) quoting myself here "Perhaps the answer lies in teaching people what it actually means to come to a place of peaceful disagreement and how to use their words to resolve things and to meet difference with curiosity and wonder instead of fear and hate. Absolutely, meet threat of life (and liberty) with swift decisive action but do all that can be done to prevent that situation"

    i do believe some people just need killin' and i believe some people should not ever breed- but i am not going to ever allow myself to become the judge jury and executioner of another's life. i see that as an ultimate hubris, after all i am the monster in the mirror as much as i am any kind of angel, who am i(in all my ignorant wisdom) to make that call-even if and especially because i can speak with the authority and power of spirit.

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