Friday, December 14, 2012

Reactions to Tragedy

First thought:  "Not again!"

After that, things get a bit jumbled.  Grief, sympathy, sadness, anger all kind of roiling around, surfacing as I hear different parts of the story.

Two parts of this affect me the most.

First, the parents.  As a parent of three girls (all fortunately grown), I cannot possibly imagine the affect on me to hear if one of them had been killed at school by some nut with a gun.  Would I just sit down and cry?  Drop to my knees and just scream?  Stand stunned, speechless?  I just don't know - any and all of those are possible.  Having never been there, how can I?  All I know is that to even think about how those parents must feel is heartrending, and I just tear up.

Second, I cannot bear the thought of being the first cop or firefighter to enter one of those classrooms.  The images of dead children would haunt me for the rest of my life.  I don't know if I would have the strength to do my job.  I think the shock of such violence done to such young children would be too much to bear.

Or maybe the anger would take over and give me the boost I'd need to carry on.

How do you know until it happens?  You don't.  I understand that as a first responder, there's training to carry you on, training and instinct as the Sandy Hook Lieutenant said tonight.  He said it hits you later, when it's over.  If it is ever over in your mind.

Listening to the Ed Show tonight, I learned one shocking fact.  Since the Columbine shooting In Colorado 13 years ago, there have been 181 school shootings in the United States.  Look at that number again:


Not temples, not offices or businesses, of which there have been 64 since that time, in addition to the school shootings.

One hundred and eighty one.  In each one, at least one child died, in others, many more.   That is HUNDREDS of children - American children - who have died at the hands of some crazed killer with a gun.

Inevitably, the calls for gun control are beginning to be heard, and on the other side, the gun supporters are still saying that guns don't kill people, people kill people.  (When I hear that one, I remember the scene from one of the Harrison Ford movies where the dashing hero is standing in a marketplace facing a man carrying a curved, wicked sword, swinging it in circles, faster and faster, until he stops with a sharp cry, brandishing his sword at our hero - who promptly pulls a pistol out of his pants and shoots the man, turns and walks way, shaking his head at the fool who brought a sword to a gun fight!

With a gun, facing an essentially unarmed opponent, there's no danger - no possibility of harm, and the act takes no courage.  In fact, we now know that the majority of these killers are young people with a history of clinical depression.  By the time they get to that point, harm to themselves is actually part of their scenario - they often end up killing themselves at the end of their spree.  Courage is not part of their mental arsenal, an act which requires it cannot be carried out.

Which points to the solutions we must bring to the table - better efforts to make gun buying more difficult to help weed out spur of the moment impulses to violence, greater efforts to screen potential gun buyers for mental health issues, a greater effort to screen out teens and young people with mental health problems, especially depression, and a concerted effort to change the social attitudes in this country towards violence to end our acceptance of using violence to solve our problems.

The solution is NOT to get guns into the hands of teachers and other adults in schools!

And it did not happen because god isn't wanted in schools!

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