I debated for a few days whether to post on or comment about the shootings in Connecticut. I really went back and forth. I guess since everyone is really blowing up cyberspace about it, I may as well post my thoughts about it. I realize that everyone reading this will or will not agree with me, and that is ok. I don’t want to change anyone’s mind, sway their thoughts or get them to do anything different. It is simply a statement of what I see. Here goes.
I think that it is tragic. On all levels in all ways. Tragic. People lost their lives, not just the students and teachers that died, but families that must now figure out a way to go on, children and teachers that lived must now change their realities having seen and been a witness to such a horrible event, a community no bigger than the one I grew up in must deal with the camera being pointed at them directly for who knows how long, as a country we have to acknowledge that something this horrible has happened, can happen again. Everyone is really emotional and involved in the debate about what happens now. The truth is that this is a way to get our attention as individuals. Is it because God is “not a part of schools”, is it gun control, is it the news and media sensationalizing tragedy and trying to be the first to interview grieving families and 10 year olds? The answer is yes, to all of it. We have to look at these things as reasonable people though. Do we have to force Christianity on people? No, we don’t. Can we teach a child’s spirit from a young age that all people deserve love, respect and kindness? Absolutely. Those things are the basis for human morality, no just religion. In the big picture we have to nurture who we are as spiritual beings and stop labeling these things. It is the same basis for taking away art, music and PE for children. We have to nurture our bodies, minds and spirits. When one part is missing, bad things happen. If we take away specials classes, children won’t exercise, won’t imagine and create. Then what do they have to read and write about? As parents, we play such a HUGE role in this process. Am I saying that video games are the anti Christ? Absolutely not. As a parent am I saying that we should pay attention to what our kids are playing? Yes. Am I saying that we should never let our children watch any TV or movies? No, not at all. Am I saying as a parent that we should be available for our children always and monitor what they watch, not just at home but by TALKING to them and asking how their day went when they come home from a friends house? Yes, for gods sake talk to your kids. Am I saying that no one anywhere should be allowed to own a gun? No I am not. Should we as a nation and as individuals realize that having guns around opens us all up to the possibility of some one, anyone, using these weapons for horrible things? Yes, we have to acknowledge that as responsible gun owners. Do I own a gun, no I do not. Do I think that you shouldn’t be able to own a gun, no I do not. We acknowledge every other danger in our lives, drunk drivers, driving while texting or calling on the phone, not wearing a seat belt, eating a diet too high in fat, not exercising, having matches, that a cook top can burn your kids, kids sleeping on their backs instead of tummies etc. The list goes on and on about how we are responsible for everything else. Guns are made for one thing, to shoot a projectile at a target. We have to acknowledge that they are WEAPONS, that is all. They are made to kill. Does that innately make them bad or good, no. The person using it makes it bad or good. Just like everything else. TV can be used to educate, or used as a distraction and babysitter. It isn’t the TV that is bad or good, it is how it is used. The person that uses something for bad or for good is what makes things a tragedy or a blessing. The potential for harm is a perfect storm of a bad person and an item than has the potential to be used for harm. Was the Connecticut tragedy possible because the guns were available to this person, yes. We have to accept that. Was the Connecticut tragedy possible because a person wanted to do harm, yes. We have to acknowledge that too. So what is the answer? I don’t know. I don’t have an answer. No one does. We as Americans tend to be quick to point a finger. Maybe we have to point that finger towards ourselves, all of us. Was I anywhere near the shooting? Nope, thousands of miles away. Did I pull the trigger? Nope. Did I see someone suspicious and not trust my gut to call someone? Nope. Did I have a part in this tragedy. Yes, yes I did. I have a part in it by watching it on the news, by reading the list of those that were killed, by writing about it now. Honestly, what are these words sent out on the internet going to do about preventing this from happening? Not a damn thing. What can I do? Be there. Be there for my kids, for my friends kids, for any kid. I can cast my vote for teachers and education. Lets face it, we pay teachers next to nothing for what they do. Why can’t we all say yes, I am willing to spend more on my taxes if it goes to education? For every kid, not just our own. We can support groups that do good for mental health in our communities. People may not know what to do if they have a child with mental health issues, if outlets are available and affordable, maybe more people can get the help they may need. We can talk, really talk, to our kids always. Being a parent is really hard, accept it and rise to the challenge. I can know in my life if I only do one thing right it will be to teach my children love and kindness, through my words and actions. Does that mean strive to be perfect, no not at all, no parent can do that. But I do want to raise my kids. I want to teach them about life, about being a good person. There is a strong possibility that I am full of crap, and that’s ok too. The only thing I can really do is accept that I have a role in things that happen around me. Including the happiness and safety of my family, the role I play in my community, my interactions with those around me. Does any of this fix what happened? Nope. You can’t fix something after it is done. All we can do is take the lessons learned and apply them to ourselves.