This morning as I settled in at my computer, coffee in hand and opened my Facebook, I heard the devastating news coming out of Newton, CT. I was shocked as the story unfolded. Now I am heartbroken and sick with anger that someone could do something like this to a bunch of little kids. My grandson is almost 4 – meaning he’ll be in one of those “safe” kindergarten classrooms soon. It scares me to no end to think that something like this could happen to him one day, just because he deserves an education.
I do not begin to speculate on why this guy decided to kill his mother, then open fire in a room full of 5-year olds… but there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he was a victim of mental illness. I will go one step further to say that I truly believe with all my heart that there were in fact warning signs prior to this act of vicious cruelty. I daresay people around him, possibly even his mother (if he lived with her, details of his life are so sketchy right now), knew that he was capable of something heinous, but didn’t know what to do or who to tell. That breaks my heart.
Folks… I’m going to get on my soapbox for a few moments… if you think that guns are the problem in this situation – then you might just want to go read about kittens or puppies somewhere else. It’s going to get real around here. If you think I’m awesome and don’t want to read something that may offend you then ignore the blue text and move on down past it if you want, I’m okay with that!
***** SOAPBOX *****
First of all – mental illness is a serious issue in our country today. Children fall out of the system in which parents control medications and mediate their child’s activities into the real world where they’re not supervised as closely because they’re adults. To me this is a travesty. Our Little Man (whom you’ve all read about – and if you haven’t check the archives) has had mental health issues since he was four. He has been under the care and treatment of teams of specialists for years. And he’s just turned 17. Now… as most of you know – at 18 he will be considered an adult by society’s standards. In reality this guy is an 8 year old in a 17 year old body – frustrating to no end, but that’s how it is. Will we just cut him loose on his 18th birthday figuring now that he’s an adult our job is done? No, we will not. There is too much work left to be done for and with him. He has no social skills, is exceedingly paranoid, and has a myriad of other issues that make him a danger to himself. While I do not think for one second my sweet little guy would ever open fire on a room full of children, I will take steps now to ensure that I never get the phone call later. He will be seen soon for a competency review to determine our guardianship over him after he turns 18. Does he like the idea? Nope, not one little bit – because in his mind he’ll be just fine on his own. Somehow everything that’s going on with him will miraculously go away when he turns 18. Not. gonna. happen.
Let’s be real folks – somewhere out there someone is broken hearted and devastated because they knew this young man was unbalanced and capable of unspeakable acts – but they had no idea what to do about it. Let me give you a few simple tips about this…
- If you think that someone is unbalanced, or is in need of help – say something. If you think they won’t be receptive, say something to someone else who cares about them – a parent, sibling, family member, teacher, police officer, social worker – someone, anyone! Do not just sit by quietly and hope they don’t do anything stupid, or wrong.
- Offer help to those you see in need – maybe they’re getting help but can’t get to an appointment or pick up medications – offer to assist them in some way, with ride or a phone call… anything.
- Remember, people with a mental illness sometimes don’t understand or know they are sick – be kind, compassionate and empathetic to their plight – while making every attempt to get them the help they need – you never know who’s life may be saved.
Secondly, all day long today I’ve seen post after post from those who are advocating the ban of firearms in the US. Really??? I’m pretty sure that making it impossible for law-abiding citizens to obtain weapons with which to protect and or provide food for themselves and/or their family is not going to solve the school shooting issues. I’m thinking that heroin, cocaine, crack, and methamphetamine’s are illegal too – but that’s not stopping the drug trade – or even slowing it down. Let’s not blame the guns, and let’s not step all over our 2nd amendment right to keep and bear arms just because people get killed. That’s not the solution – 9 out of 10 criminals that kill did not obtain their gun legally anyway – so stopping the legal purchase of firearms is not the answer. Do I think that there should be better control over gun ownership – absolutely. In 25 states it’s legal to just walk into a gun shop and purchase whatever you want without background check or anything – that’s not right. We need to be more responsible about this. We need to get automatic weapons off the streets. Most of all we need to educate our children about proper firearm safety from a young age. Make them understand that they have a place, but that they are definitely not a solution to a problem. We need to ensure that those who do own firearms do so legally, and safely. We need to stop screaming “ban them all” and start screaming EDUCATE!
Most children when handed a “gun” of any sort will point at the nearest person and fire away… why? Because that’s what the see on television, movies and video games. When their favorite actor is “killed” he’s right back the next week, month, year in another movie, or show. When they play games, and die – they re-spawn at the nearest checkpoint at full heath and move on to fight another day. They don’t realize that this is not reality. They’re desensitized to violence now at younger and younger ages. I don’t find this to be a good thing for our society. Parents need to step up their game and stop using the television and Xbox PlayStation or Wii as a baby sitter and start doing their jobs. Education is key to producing well rounded and balanced children – and you can’t expect the teachers in schools to educate your child on everything they need to know – that is the responsibility of the parent.
We need to stop blaming the guns and start blaming the criminals and do something about it. Get out and advocate for stricter control on who purchases and owns a gun. Advocate for stronger penalties for those illegally in possession of a firearm. We’re the only ones who can do this for ourselves without having our rights stepped all over – because if we allow government to do it for us – well we’ll just all be sitting ducks when those obtaining illegal firearms come calling. Last I knew criminals aren’t really that good at obeying laws.
I know, I know – I’ve probably pissed a lot of people off – and frankly I don’t care. I don’t see how taking firearms away from law abiding citizens prevents crime – I just don’t. They say that now is not the time to be talking about gun control – and I firmly agree – the time to talk about it has come and gone – it left with Columbine. Now is the time to take action and protect our rights, educate our children, and work to stop the trade of illegal firearms.
Now… I am stepping off my soap box now – if you stuck around and didn’t leave me – thank you. I understand that your opinion may be polar opposite of mine – and that’s fine – as long as you’re not abusive, I’ll accept a healthy debate.
If you skipped the text that’s fine and I thank you for coming on down here to see what else I had to say.
I am truly heartbroken over this tragedy – and I am keenly interested in knowing the motivation behind it. Not that I figure it will be anything concrete unless this kid kept a detailed diary of his thoughts. My prayers and thoughts go out to the community of Newton. I cannot imagine what those families are going through tonight. I am not even remotely going to think I even understand one tiny part of their pain, because I don’t.
I do know this – the families in Newton – even those that did not have students or family involved in Sandy Hook School are grieving tonight, and will be for a while. I think as a country we’ll all be in mourning for those babies, their teachers, and families for a long time to come. Now is the time to come together as a country and support each other through this tragedy.
That is all.