So, I'm no expert and people sure don't come to me asking my opinion on important matter or tragedies. But, I AM both a teacher and a mom, so I thought I would share what has stuck out to me in the past few days as I have read and heard so many opinions.
1. Of course, murder is always a tragedy. Death is always a tragedy. But, the death of innocent children is even more atrocious than I could ever imagine. It breaks my heart and makes me sick every time I even think of it. And I will say that as a nation we are all grieving. But as we grief, let us be kind and gracious to each other as we all grieve differently.
2. Can we please agree that assault weapons (intended for military combat and specifically designed for killing huge numbers of people) are just NOT necessary for citizens to own? I'm all for second amendment rights and I'm not going to attempt to get all guns outlawed. But, I really think that after this we should be able to agree that guns made to shoot round after round of bullets do not need to be owned by the general population! Please, please join me in this. I don't want to place blame because the problems in our country are so complex, but this would NOT have happened in such a great magnitude if the killer would not have had access to an assault weapon. It just would have been impossible to kill so many people so rapidly without an assault rifle.
3. Please, please, PLEASE do not be afraid to send your child to school! Violence like this is NOT a common occurrence! It is so, so rare. Please do NOT live in fear and give power to evil that way. Schools are safe places to send your children. Statistically speaking, your child is much more likely to die in a car accident on the way to school than at the school. If my child attended Sandy Hook, then I 100% agree that returning to school would be a very traumatic thing and I get that. But, if we all decide to home-school BECAUSE of this incident, we are living in fear and that also makes me sick to my stomach. I have walked through my school very confidently (yet sorrowfully) the past 3 days knowing that I am 99.99999% safe in my school (which again, is much safer than I am in the car driving on the interstate and none of us would suggest that we should never drive anywhere).
4. Take the opportunity to appreciate the teachers in your life. The teachers at Sandy Hook made the ultimate sacrifice for their students because that's the kind of spirit that teachers have. Sure, there are good teachers and not-so-good teachers, but I'm pretty confident that they all go into the profession to serve and teach children. They chose a career with pretty much no possibility of advancement, no Holiday bonuses and no chance to get rich. And usually they are just barraged with negativity from both administrators and parents (I'm so blessed that this is NOT the case at my school and have a very supportive principal and parents, but that is often not true!). So, take some time to appreciate teachers instead of criticizing them.
5. Please do not ever suggest to me that schools would be safer if all teachers had guns. I am a teacher and if I had to carry a gun to school every day I would quit my job. First of all, that would make the school a much more dangerous place because gun accidents are more common than mass shootings. And secondly, all statistics show that more guns=more homicides. So, even if your personal logic points you to that answer, please believe studies and statistics over your own hunch or personal feelings.
6. I think we can all agree than anyone that would kill children is not mentally healthy. There is much going around about mental health, and I'm glad for the awareness. My heart breaks for those going through these struggles. Whether it's advanced schizophrenia or temporary depression, mental health is a complicated, upsetting (and sadly, very common) issue. I think the bottom line here is that even though each one of us is 100% responsible for our own actions and decisions, we need to be there for each other, love each other and support one another as much as we can. What if more people reached out to those isolated and confused instead of avoiding them because they are "weird?" It would only make this world a safer place. This is convicting to me because I really need to take the time and reach out to others more and get out of my little personal problems and concerns.
7. Is there a way we can unite against violent video games, tv shows and movies?! The prevalence and glorification of violence and slaughter in our culture is disgusting and horrifying. Dave and I went to the movies Monday night to see "Guilt Trip" (which we recommend by the way) and saw a GIGANTIC movie poster of a girl with blood all over her face. How is this ok!? Not that I'm a big supporter of swearing or sexual content in these areas, but why is that stuff regulated so much more than gratuitous, disgusting violence!? Shows like CSI just glorify and perpetuate the obsession with have with depravity. I can get into a good murder mystery, but what is out there and readily accessible to our young people is deplorable! Here's an article that reports that the shooter in Newton was an avid "gamer" in the world of violent video games. Why am I not surprised? (I don't think I have ever used so many negative adjectives in one paragraph before!)
I'm sorry if I was just on my soap box for this entire post. I hope I haven't estranged any one or discouraged you from reading here. I don't want to use our blog as some forum of preaching my own "personal message," but felt like I wanted to gather my accumulated thoughts after all the articles and essays I've read in the past few days.
Disagree with me if you'd like. That's ok. :-) That's the wonderful thing about living in America. We can disagree with each other and (hopefully) continue to live in peace. So, let's make that our ultimate goal. Whatever brings peace. I think if we can all just focus on that we'll be moving in the right direction.