Today I picked the triplets up at their little preschool in the country. This little unassuming school in the middle of farms and vineyards where the sun filters perfectly through the hills and shines down through the grapevines on my way to dropping the kids off at 8:30am.
I went to open the door to preschool but it was locked. I tried again. And then I tried again. For a split second I was puzzled until I remembered the 20 dead children and 6 dead adults at a sweet country school in Connecticut. A school not very different from my children’s school in a community not much different from our community.
At 38 I have lived through many school shootings and national tragedies. I have felt sad and angry and confused, wondering why humans can turn on each other so violently. This recent tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has hit us all especially hard.
Last Friday I developed a deep pain in my neck that shot up into my head. I don’t get pain in my neck often, but when I do I attribute it to sleeping wrong. Day after day my pain in the neck remained. Then yesterday I realized that I think I was carrying all my sorrow and stress following the horrible school shooting in my neck.
I have read some great blog posts on this recent school shooting and heard opinions from friends on Facebook. The shooter was troubled; academically gifted but socially handicapped. Reclusive. Addicted to violent video games. He carried a black briefcase around school when he wasn’t being homeschooled. His mom took this disturbed child to a firing range to shoot guns as a hobby. There was a divorce.
Then there are guns. Guns you can buy online. Guns you can buy from friends or from your local gun shop. Guns are readily available to anyone.
I have read pleas for more public support given to psychiatric facilities. This is a nice idea if only all of the people who need to be in a psychiatric ward such as the Connecticut shooter, were actually placed in there by a family member or by themselves.
Everyone wants to know why. You can’t blame us for wanting to know what is the genesis of the mass murder of so many small innocent children. How could a person look small children in the eyes and then shoot them dead? We want to know why so we can prevent incidences like this from happening again. We want to protect our children, our spouses, our mothers and fathers.
When Columbine happened I was young and did not have children. I watched from the television in my little cottage near the beach in San Diego. I was horrified, as was the nation.
This school shooting has been devastating for me. When I lay down at night I cannot get the picture out of my head of all those six and seven year old children huddled in a small room terrified and being protected by staff. I picture my kids in there because I cannot stop my brain from doing so.
I think almost everything I have read or heard touches on the problems. Violent video games and movies desensitize and glorify guns and killing. What was wrong with Pac Man, Casablanca or Annie? Finding a different hobby such as kite flying or fishing or chess may have been a better choice for a kid on the Autism spectrum with extreme anti-social behavior. It is our responsibility as parents to help our children make appropriate choices.
Lastly, we need to put stricter gun laws in place. We just have to. The opinion of my family is that three things need to happen to tighten up gun laws:
1. The Brady Law requiring background checks in stores should also apply to gun shows, which would help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally unstable.
2. Semi-automatic military style weapons have no place in our society.
3. Bullet clips containing more than 20 bullets are only meant for one thing.
I see the desire for stricter gun laws crossing partisan lines, which may mean change is on the horizon.
While I understand why the door to my 4 year olds’ preschool will be locked from now on, it would not have protected them from the Connecticut shooter.
Let’s make a change.
My heart goes out to everyone at Sandy Hook Elementary.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.