Hug your loved ones. Hug them hard.

So I think a lot of us spent a lot of time thinking about what happened in Newtown, CT on Friday morning. I know I have. I’m not  a parent, but I know a ton of children, newborns from this year, kids around the same age as those harmed at Sandy Hook, and friends who have children/family the same age. And in a very removed kind of way, as someone who is so excited to be a Mom someday, I felt a kinship with everyone who was affected in some way. (Not to say that I understand, clearly I don’t, but I could only imagine.)

I was at work on Friday when I started to hear about the information about the school shooting. Sadly, as a testament to the current psyche of the American public, saying “another mass shooting?” feels like commonplace vernacular. However, as the details started to come in (some wrong, some right – none good) and the death toll was climbing with the majority being little kids… I couldn’t concentrate. I was so stressed that morning because I was approaching my final presentation for my semester, but as the news came in, it seemed less and less important.

I’d say I consider myself a fairly compassionate person, especially when it comes to experiencing a close loved ones death. And I’ve experienced some of the worst yet, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine the thought of losing a child. As much pain as I have felt the last 3/4 years, it would have been SO much worse if it were the other way around and my parents had ever lost me. So there’s the silver lining for them… they’ll never have to experience that.

And from my end, when Mark and I bring little ones into the world, just to imagine the kind of love, patience, dedication, and strength that goes into birthing then rearing, and to have that taken away. I’m taken aback at just how easily that can be done.

And the teachers…  almost makes me happy that Mark isn’t a full-time teacher. Though, he is a tutor and is in the school, so I’m not sure it’s any better, really. Because it comes down to the “you just never know…”

There are tons of debates out there now that this has happened. As someone who enjoys healthy and hefty debates, I kept a close eye on all the ones going on around me and spent a lot of time talking to Mark about them on Saturday/Sunday/Monday morning. My thoughts?

  • This one might get me in trouble. But no, I don’t think that this kind of thing should “reintroduce” god into the schools. It’s not up to teachers or administration to teach children about God, Christianity, or whatever else people are vying for. I will not be bringing my children up in churches, or to look toward god in a crisis, they will find their inner strength and understand what good and bad means based on our values, not a book. I’d prefer that any children of mine not be contradicted of their own personal strength and to look to depend on anything else other than themselves and us. 
  • What does need to change is the state in which the American public perceives mental health care. People are scared to seek help, because in the event that someone is diagnosed with something, it is so hard to relieve themselves of the stigma associated with mental health problems. Once you’re deemed crazy, it’s hard to shed the name.
  • Mental health care also needs to be easily accessible. For all those people who cry “don’t waste my tax dollars on other people’s healthcare!”… see why this is a societal thing? Why we need to take care of each other?
  • The gun control issue. This is a tricky one. But I think stricter gun control will only be a temporary solution to a greater problem. The same day of the Sandy Hook shootings, a man in China stabbed 20 school children. Here’s the chicken and the egg debate. China has GREAT weapons control over there, so this man didn’t have access to a gun that could have killed all these children. However, the weapon control there didn’t keep this man from finding a way to hurt entire communities. And there’s no saying that if given more time, he could have most definitely have killed those children with just a knife.

 

I was silent during President Obama’s vigil speech on Sunday night. As he was reading off those kids names, my heart was breaking. These kids were excited for the holidays, some of them were probably ready for cookie baking and present wrapping. Some of them believed Santa was still getting ready to make sure their toys were ready. Some of them were just excited for the thrill of Christmas morning (and making sure Mom & Dad were up at the crack of dawn!).

But nope. And it’s sad.

When I was in middle school, I volunteered quite often to help out in the Pre-K classroom. There was about 18 of them in the room…. I couldn’t imagine. SO many props to the first responders, and I hope they’re being taken care of by the community, because to have to see what that maniac caused is unbearable.

Hug your loved ones. Hug them lots.

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