I grew up with guns. I learned at a very early age they can do damage that is permanent. They can kill accidently or intentionally and once that bullet leaves the barrel nothing can be done to stop it or change its trajectory. I’m not one to gamble on too many things so it makes sense to me that I stay away from guns. It is just an unnecessary gamble to partake in. Anytime there is a loaded gun there is an element of chance and an element of danger. Even in the most controlled situations the intent of a gun is to damage and destroy. I create things. I have no interest in destroying anything in that manner.
It appears that this murderer chose to use a gun to kill children and adults. All of this happened in a school. I am an educator. I believe schools are sacred ground. I can think of no bigger tragedy than to desecrate a school with this kind of horror. We put faith in the school system every time we drop our children off at the bus stop or the front door of our school. Our faith tells us at the end of the day we will see them come in through the door and we’ll ask how their day was. This is how the world is supposed to work.
There has been so much information given to the public by the media regarding this tragedy. Of the information that bothers me is the accusation that the murderer had Asperger’s Syndrome. I know a lot of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism. I believe the media is using whatever they can to “increase understanding” and as a result they have deeply offended a large population of outstanding individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome. I know some wonderful people with Asperger’s Syndrome. This is an insult to all of them.
Mike Huckabee, a one-time candidate for the GOP nomination for president, was quoted as saying:
“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we've systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be so surprised that schools have become a place for carnage because we've made it a place where we don't want to talk about eternity, life, responsibility, accountability?”
Really? On a national platform, during the rawness of tragedy, this is how you choose to address the issue? I question the sanity of Mike Huckabee. If this is how God behaves I have to say I am disappointed. Mike Huckabee’s God has the emotional maturity of a three year old. My understanding is that somewhere along the line God gave individuals the freedom to choose their actions. Like it or not we choose our actions. We alone are responsible for them. I am in schools almost every day and I can tell you I hear lots of rich conversations on eternity, life, responsibility, and accountability. These conversations are led by dedicated teachers, similar to those who gave their lives on Friday. Teachers who day in and day out give of themselves despite the current conversation of how poorly we are doing as a nation to educate our children. Think before you speak Mike Huckabee. Your comments are offensive to teachers everywhere. We talk about life and the meaning of life everyday. To say we don’t and then intimate that this is the reason for this tragedy is trite. I wish you had paid better attention in school.
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the National Rife Association, has previously stated, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” I wish it were that simple. Maybe, just maybe, better mental health services and youth programs would decrease crime and other social maladies in a manner that firearms are no longer part of the equation. What if all of the money used to help lobby for less gun control was diverted to education. What if in light of this tragedy the NRA closed up shop and diverted all of its assets to education. Maybe this is the price tag the NRA needs to pay both morally and financially. I promise you that if the amount of money used to fight gun control were diverted to education, schools, after school programs, mental health facilities, and social work, individuals with guns would not feel this large and foreboding need to carry a weapon with them at all times.
I believe in education more than I believe in the right to own a weapon.
In the coming days people will be trying to find ways to show support for those in Sandy Hook Elementary. There will be people wearing different colors as a sign of support. I would suggest something in addition to those ideas. Why not be nice to the person next to you? Why not smile at a stranger? Why not be helpful to someone in your corner of the world? Make some art. Draw. Sing. Laugh with those around you. If you do that, then the world will be better than it was on Friday.