Monday, December 17, 2012

Tragedy in Newtown, CT

I wrote this post maybe five times, but I guess there are just no right words to say about what happened on Friday. As a human being, my heart breaks for the family and friends of those children, teachers, and administrators. As a father, I cannot fathom what those parents are going through. My youngest is 6 years old, and I shudder just thinking about what if it had been my child.

Gun control debates began almost immediately. And all kinds of speculation and digging into the life of the young man that took innocent lives makes for great news. I think people want to gather the facts, because these kinds of horrors just make no sense at all.

The only thing I will say about all of this is that we do need to re-examine how we treat those with mental illness. As a former teacher, I remember parents at their wits end with some of their teenage kids - some with very deep emotional issues that no one could seem to fix. They were told that nothing could be done until their child committed a crime - they needed to be charged with something in order to create a sort of paper trail and maybe get some real help.

There are parents that live in fear of their own child, and that's another whole tragedy right there.

I know I was griping about turning 40 on Wednesday, but wow, I feel like an ass complaining about such a thing. More than 20 lives will not see 40. Ever. And that is just so tragic. No matter how bad any of my gripes might be, they are trivial compared to the hurt those affected are going through.

This holiday season, let's hope and pray that good triumphs over evil - and that we never take for granted our fortunes AND even some of our "problems."


Vero said...

Mass shootings never have only ONE cause, they have several, and I think a good point to start is to check what all of these shootings have in common and go from there. And it's most definitely not only the guns.

The mental health issue has rightly been brought to the front, albeit the post that launched the debate of meanwhile shit-storm proportions---the "I am Adam Lanza’s mother" post---has become a magnet for misguided rage. At least it sparked an online interest in the mental health issues which often too easily get swept under the rug once the gun talk gets going.

Brinda said...

There are a lot of people who will be thankful for their loved ones this Christmas. It shouldn't take a tragedy for us, but it often does.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's sad parents can't get help for their kids before something goes really wrong.
When things like that happen, makes all of our problems seem really small. We're alive and that's the greatest blessing.

Laura Eno said...

There really are no words to cover the tragedy - only endless speculation in hindsight - some helpful, some not. Kudos to you for a meaningful post not catering to the rabid factor on either side, but only expressing your sorrow and hope for a better future.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

It is so important to get out in front of these problems and stop them before they happen. In almost all these cases there were warning signs but no one did anything about it until it was too late.

Jay Noel said...

Vero: Whoa - that is a fantastic article! Thanks for that.

Brinda: Exactly right.

Alex: Life is a blessing for sure.

Laura: I hope for my kids sake, for a better future. Our kids deserve better than this.

PT: Hit it right on the head, PT. We need to fix this ASAP.

Michael Ignacio said...

I only made it into the teaching world via my student teaching and substitute teaching, but I can understand how you feel from the teacher’s perspective. Schools are supposed to be safe places of learning, growth, and exploration. Unfortunately, over my years as a student myself, as well as a teacher, I have seen dangers bubble up that should never have happened. I've seen kids fight teachers, kids fight kids while teachers refuse to step in, kids bullied and massive riots amongst students. You also hear about teachers who prey on students, which is also totally abhorrent. Lastly, we hear about violence directed at the schools from outside sources. I agree with what was said about re-evaluating those who have mental illness, there has to be a change in treatment. I wish there was a way that we could re-evaluate our education system to make things safer. I am on the cusp pf having children myself, and it worries me to see the kind of world that my children will enter. I wonder, did they have school shootings in the 50's, 60's or 70's? Or is this a relatively recent trend? I wish that those who do have a desire to enact mass violence would rather attack a military base or police station rather than a school of innocent children. Please understand that I am not wishing violence on anyone, but I would rather have people who are trained to fight and to handle such situations be exposed to psychos like that, rather than those who are boiling over with innocence.

Jay Noel said...

Michael: The number of school shootings went up DRAMATICALLY in the 70s and 80s, and have stayed steady since then. But school deaths go all the way back to the 1800s.

Julie Dao said...

Well said, Jay. It breaks my heart to think of those children and the teachers who lost their lives. I could never express it as well as you have here.

Miranda Hardy said...

It hurts to know this tragedy existed at all, and I truly feel for the families that have to endure this. I'm always thankful for my children, each and every day.

Elise Fallson said...

I've commented on a few blogs that have talked about this tragedy and each time it has taken me 5 or 6 tries just to leave a comment. The shock from this tragedy has been felt around the world. My children are 6 and 4 and when I think about the families and victims my heart goes out to them. I can't imagine what they are going through. I feel as adults, we have failed these children. Public schools should be one of the safest places to send our children.

Matthew MacNish said...

Well said, Jay. I had a hard time dropping my kids off at school today. Such a tragic loss of innocent life.

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

I don't own a gun, but I know people who own close to 500 of them. I'm not sure of how to address this problem. I'm a democrat and will support our democratic leadership on what they want to do about this. I think the important thing is that there is now a debate going on in our country. It's too bad that it couldn't happen after Columbine, but that it took 31 more school shootings to really bring people to the table to recognize that we need to do something as a society.

What I hope will arise out of a debate on this issue are ideas from both sides. Maybe a solution shall present itself that will be the one we are all looking for.

Samantha May said...

I'm glad Vero shared the "I am Adam Lanza's mother" article. I read it yesterday. It's very sad to me how often people jump straight to guns instead of also paying close attention to the mental health issues of these killers. No mentally stable person has the capacity to commit such a crime.

It's events like these that really push me forward in my Psychology studies. These tragedies have to stop.

Sarah Ahiers said...

Great post. And i'm of the firm mind that nothing is an either/or issue. It's not Just guns, or Just mental illnes, or just media coverage. It's all of these things and others.

Phats said...

Yeah I wrote about this too, this one really bothered me today was a different at school that's for sure

Lynda R Young said...

This tragedy truly is horrific, and certainly does put our little daily problems into perspective. I'm praying for everyone affected, the families and friends who are now grieving.

Emily R. King said...

It was a horrible day. People want to prevent these kinds tragedies, and who can blame them? But that's so hard to do. No one truly expects anyone to do something so evil.

Rusty Webb said...

I have done everything I can to avoid information about the events last week. My heart broke in two as soon as I heard. I don't have words.

It will be a while before I can think about it.

Jay Noel said...

I refuse to watch the news or read too much online about it. Just not ready for the information overload.

Ellie Garratt said...

This is a tragedy that has touched the human population as a whole, parent or not. I can not begin to comprehend what these families are going through.

The Desert Rocks said...

Great post Jay and like you said, this makes no sense at all. We all need to keep on praying.

Kelley Lynn said...

It is unfortunate that an event like this is what gets us to think about our loved ones THAT much more. Perhaps that's the only answer as to why something like this happens in this crazy world...

Callie Leuck said...

The situation with getting treatment for mental health problems is a tragedy itself. :(

David P. King said...

As one who works with mental illness, you'd be surprised how many people out there need help but never get it until they do something first. My thoughts are with the families of this tragedy this week.

There's still time to post for the Build Me a Blog Hop if you plan to do so today. :)

Tamara said...

I don't even know what to say. I wanted to post on this, but was too daunted by the horror of the topic to know what to say.

Nicely written and good job having the courage to tackle such a tough subject.

Jay Noel said...

Thanks everyone. Mental health is something this country is going to have to face head-on. We can't keep sweeping it under the rug.

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