We (Americans) are so f***ed up.
Don't get me wrong. I also think we are awesome and amazing and pretty dang fabulous,
nevertheless, we are also deeply effed up.
Ya know, pretty much like every other nation in the world, but in our own unique way.
The way we aggrandize violence, ignore, marginalize, and refuse to treat mental illness, as well as our refusal to engage in any sane, national conversation about what sensible gun laws might be all combine to create situations like Sandy Hook.
Having one group shrieking, "No guns, never guns, aaaaaargh!" and another group raging, "Must haz ALL the guns!" is rather counter-productive to a well-reasoned approach.
The person who commits murder always bears the guilt of that act. I am not attempting to diminish that truth but I do think it is time we evaluate what our society is doing.
One of my Facebook friends posted this image as if it suggests a good solution to the recent events.
This is an elementary class in Israel with an armed adult.
I know people who've experienced the never-ending fear and uncertainty of surviving life in a war zone. They value the blessings of peace and liberty extraordinarily highly and I believe you would have a hard time convincing them that the way to preserve and celebrate the American way of life is to embrace the life-style forced on those who live under constant fear of attack.
Let me be clear, I am not anti-gun. I support the right of people to own guns, hunt, target shoot, and shoot in competitions. I believe every single member of our armed services ought to be trained in handling weapons (and just in case you didn't know this, no, not all military members currently are trained in firing weapons). My children have both taken the hunter safety course in my state and gone hunting. They've been to youth hunter training offered by our local gun range and been train pretty extensively by my dad and husband about gun safety, gun handling, and responsible gun ownership. I am all for responsible gun ownership.
However, we need to speak truth on this matter.
It's time to quit pretending that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams wanted assault rifles in the hands of anyone who shows up at a gun show with the money to buy one.
I, for one, do not understand why assault weapons were ever subject to private ownership. I firmly believe that tanks, gun ship helicopters, and assault weapons belong only in the hands of military members and law enforcement officers. Nevertheless, they are in the hands of private citizens and the responsible owners; the ones who properly secure their weapons, use them sensibly, and follow laws and safety guidelines are not the people creating anguish. It is unrealistic though to behave as if this describes all gun owners.
Even more important than gun laws (because it is true that laws regarding guns only have an effect on those who follow laws) are the matters of how our society regards violence and how we handle mental illness.
This is a link to one woman's take on this recent tragedy and her connection to mental illness.
A gun ban is an oversimplified answer to this issue. We need to develop a culture of honoring life, non-violence, and caring for those with mental illness.
I hope we can honor the memories of these precious babies and their teachers by doing the best we can to prevent a tragedy like this from happening again.