Tomorrow will mark one week since the shootings in Newtown claimed the lives of 26 people including 20 children.
So what has happened since?
There have been funerals, protests, talk shows on gun violence nearly all day, every day. The politicians have argued about gun control. The NRA finally came out and issued a statement. President Obama issued a statement saying he was tasking the government to do something by the end of January and put Joe Biden on the hook to lead the effort. Then the jokes about Biden spread like wildfire.
That crackpot church group threatened to protest funerals so the cops and firefighters in Newtown volunteered their time to block any protests.
And then to top it off, gun sales have surged and parents are spending $200 to $300 on armored backpacks to protect their kids from shootings. Not assault weapon attacks, just handguns.
Oh by the way, tomorrow the world ends anyway by fire, meteors or just plain madness.
You know, with all of this chaos, I just might agree that this world is coming to an end. At least the insanity sure sends that message. Of course I really don’t think so, but this stuff sure does make you think what the hell is going on?
I think the most troubling part of it all is our world and how we react. And I am as guilty of it as anyone. The initial reaction to the mother of the shooter in Newtown was, “Geez, how could this woman allow the kid access to weapons”? Well, as it turns out from all reports the mother was a very responsible woman who seemed to be a good mom. She tried to involve her sons in the things that interested her. And while her son may have seemed odd to some, to her he was just a son who needed to be included in the things we do in life.
Sure it could have been stamp collecting, gardening, running, basketball or something else. For her it was her interest in guns. She was a target shooter and had the interest. By all accounts she locked up her guns and taught her sons how to shoot and she thought she was teaching them to be responsible. How could she ever dream her son would go on such a rampage – and in fact make her one of his victims?
As a parent of any child who has special needs we know we try especially hard to make them feel as “normal” as possible. We want these kids to be happy and make them feel a part of the world. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t. But I am fairly certain that most of the time even the kids who struggle and fail to be whatever it is we call normal pick up an assault rifle and go on a shooting rampage.
It’s a definite call not only for changes in the way we distribute guns but for more mental health treatment because there are people out there with true anger and rage issues. And those are the people who shouldn’t have access to a weapon. The kids who we think are odd, strange, overly shy, whatever, aren’t generally the ones we need to worry about.
We had a student in our school district arrested for making threats against the school. Now it seems like this kid had some issues and there were no indications that there was ever any clear danger. But when you think this stuff doesn’t happen close to home, you’re wrong. It can and we must be vigilant and use common sense. But we can’t allow these crazy events to force us to live scared.
So were there any positives coming out of this tragedy? I think so. I think the nation – including the NRA – is finally admitting that some changes are needed in our gun laws. And I think that the mental health issues should and will be addressed. We were so eager to cut funding for our most vulnerable population and now it’s coming back to bite us. People who have mental health issues need help. And sometimes the funding must come from the government – and us as taxpayers. I’d gladly toss in a couple of bucks if I thought it would help some troubled individual get needed help and keep him or her from picking up a gun and going on a rampage.
Perhaps another positive is that once again we were reminded that our children are precious. That we should take the time and appreciate what we have with our kids. Yes, they drive us nuts at times but for the most part they are just kids, pure, innocent, just want to play kind of kids who need our love, support and yes, protection. But let’s not scare them to death. Just give them the parenting they need and teach them good sense and good judgment skills.
Then it’s up to the adults in this country to try and fix these major issues. If we could solve the problems of the world like these little angels solve the issues on the playground, the world would be a much better place.
— Andy Hachadorian