Last night, through tears, I said goodnight to the angels of Sandy Hook Elementary School. The loving and heroic adults. The beautiful and innocent children. I see their faces and think of them often but especially yesterday at one month since the horrible massacre that took them away.
Yesterday there was a press conference from Newtown where they announced The Sandy Hook Promise. I urge anyone who hasn’t been to the website to check it out. Read through the promise itself. I am glad that as a nation we are still talking about what we can do to help prevent something like this from ever happening again. And this promise is part of that, it is a promise to keep talking, to keep listening, to act.
I have been so heartbroken. I have my own opinions on what could be changed. I have been sharing my thoughts in various ways. I have been making my voice heard in various ways. I hope that others do the same.
In addition to voicing my views, I am also trying to find ways to enrich my own family life and enjoy the little things more. I hope that others do the same.
Although I can’t begin to know the pain and grief those in Newtown are experiencing, I do know that as a nation we mourn and we feel connected because of it. We need to keep the connection, keep the conversation going. I really hope we change as a society to help make us safer.
I know that not everyone agrees with my views and may be tired of seeing my thoughts. But I have to keep talking. I have to keep thinking. I have to keep sharing. It’s just something I must do and I hope that although we have differences, we can find our common ground and move forward. I think we all have the same ultimate goal of keeping our children as safe as possible.
Here is where I am going to ramble on about my thoughts on some things I feel should change.
First of all I have no interest in completely disarming citizens. I know that there is a lot of fear out there about that but from what I am seeing, that is really not what is being discussed. Personally I don’t understand the argument about defending oneself from the government. As a friend recently stated, we protect ourselves from tyranny by committing ourselves to a rule of law and a government with representation and checks and balances. We use our votes and our ability to organize to keep tyranny at bay. I imagine many may think I am naive in my beliefs but I simply don’t see how any personal arsenal is going to stand up against our military weaponry so if that weaponry were somehow used against citizens, there would be no armed recourse. We have to rely on our minds and our voices not our weapons to keep our government in check. I also don’t believe the breadth of government we have from federal down to local could all somehow turn against citizens. Somewhere there would be resistance.
There is already a line that divides the weaponry citizens may have and the weaponry the military has. Citizens aren’t allowed to have tanks, surface to air missiles, bombs, etc. I believe the line should be moved to exclude other kinds of weapons from availability to citizens. Weapons that sole intent is mass carnage in minimum time. Citizens would still be able to obtain weapons for various activities but the most dangerous weapons shouldn’t be available. I also believe in more regulation of weapons including more thorough background checks on all sales and transfers as well as registration and insurance for weapons.
Although I don’t believe arming teachers is the way to go, I can understand the discussions of adding police presence in more public spaces like schools. In our district, all the high schools have a police presence. I know that this may be expensive but I think it is worth discussing. I don’t like the idea of private firms for this sort of thing, I prefer local law enforcement. My worry here is the message it may send to children constantly seeing law enforcement in places that should be considered safe. But it is worth the discussion.
We absolutely need to find ways to improve availability of mental health services to all who need them. No one should suffer if they need help. We need to improve how we treat mental health issues. No one should be afraid to seek help and we shouldn’t simply medicate every problem. I have personally been on a medication that gave me frightening suicidal thoughts so I know that pharmaceuticals are not always the answer. Mental health is a very complicated issue and there are so many facets to consider and work on. This topic is going to need to be discussed and actions revised for a long time before we get it right. One thing that goes along with mental health is physical health. A healthy body supports a healthy mind. As a society we are so much more physically sick than we used to be and that absolutely affects our mental health. We should also make changes to incentivize healthier diet and lifestyles to promote wellness in body and mind.
It would be wonderful if we could somehow find ways to be more inclusive and encourage more community throughout the nation. Many of the people who turn violent are outsiders and excluded from society. There has to be some way to embrace those who feel alone.
As a society we have to address bullying. We have been doing much here but we really need to do more.
I personally believe our society has an unhealthy fascination with death and destruction. I am not innocent here, I enjoy many action movies with tons of violence. I am at a loss of how to really address this one but it is important to talk about. I know there are movies or games that I feel uncomfortable watching or playing. We should somehow find a way to use that to figure out how to deal with what is “too much violence” in entertainment. I fear that the younger generations are becoming desensitized to violence. Seeing how young men can violate young women without any remorse and actually find it funny is sickening and shows that there is definitely something that we need to be discussing. This is a tough one as well.
I don’t have all the answers but no one does. That is why a national conversation is necessary and all voices should be heard. Thank you for reading.