Today marks the one year anniversary of that awful tragic day last December when 20 innocent, defenseless young children along with 6 adults were brutally murdered in Newtown Connecticut. There have been many tragic events in this country in recent years but this one really seemed to capture people’s emotions. I know it certainly affected me and I think I can speak for most people in saying that Christmas seemed really hollow last year with that event still fresh in our minds. I do not have any children but I have several young nieces and nephews and I cannot imagine the pain and sorrow that those families had to endure last year. Losing a small child has to be as painful a life event as you can have. And to have it take place just before Christmas only adds to the sting.
Sadly, the Sandy Hook shooting is just another example of the growing trend of school shootings in our country. I heard that there have been 18 school shootings since then. How ironic was it that yesterday, on the eve of the Sandy Hook anniversary, another school shooting in Colorado took place? Maybe God is trying to send this country a message. There is absolutely no reason why any kid should feel unsafe when going to school. Parents should also be confident that the schools have proper security and procedures in place to protect their precious children. It is very unfortunate that we have come to this in our country, but we have come to a point where these tragedies are always on the back of people’s minds. Back when I was in school, the last thing I worried about was having a shooter in my school. Nobody heard of gun violence in schools. If we had a score to settle with someone, we took it out on the playgrounds until some school administrator broke up the fight. Nobody used guns, only fists.
If anything positive can come from this tragedy, it is creating awareness of the growing risk in any school of having some troubled kid or kids come into a school with guns and produce much mayhem. It can happen anywhere. A lot of those anti-gun advocates are using this anniversary to call for stricter gun control laws. I have seen many people write to the paper and remind people that this a great time to call your local politician and demand tougher gun control laws. I understand that people will have an automatic knee-jerk reaction to any shooting violence by calling on tougher laws. But If someone actually believe that having stricter gun control laws will actually prevent these school shootings, they are highly delusional. Banning a particular weapon or gun is not going to prevent criminals or any mentally ill person from obtaining them. The black market for those weapons are far too great. The problems run much deeper than enacting some tougher gun laws.
Whether people like to admit it or not, we have some serious mental health issues that need to be addressed in this country, especially with regards to young people. Too often, we just ignore these kids are being outcasts and losers in our society. Their fellow students only add to the fuel when they tease and make fun of them. Or maybe they get yelled by their parents and told they are completely useless pieces of you know what. Sooner or later, the emotions run over in these people and they snap and commit these horrible crimes. It is sad but the Columbine shooting that took place in 1999 is a blueprint for many troubled youths to follow. It is reported that the Sandy Hook shooter was fascinated by the Columbine school shooting. We live in a copycat society and sadly, there are probably many troubled youths out there who dream of doing what the Columbine killers did. What better way to go out and extract revenge to those who did you wrong!!
Sure there are people who say that violent movies and video games contribute to these acts of violence and I agree but what about the parents of these killers? It would be interesting to know what type of upbringing these troubled youths had. I strongly believe that family values in this country have pretty much gone out the window. We take it for granted that our kids will respect life and other humans but it appears that is not always the case. Parents these days are way too busy trying to work 2 jobs or working too many hours. They do not have any time for their kids. Do they even recognize signs of mental illness or other problems in their children? A good parent will recognize and address these issues before it is too late. Unfortunately, many do not. And what about teachers and school administrators? If some kid turned in some paper about how he would like to be the next Charles Manson, what should be done about that? Does a red flag go up? There are always warning signs ahead of these attacks.
There are also other issues concerning the family like the increasing number of broken families in our society. A child that comes from a family with a loving mother and father is likely to grow up respecting life and not likely to go and kill a bunch of young, innocent children. I know some people are really gung ho about taking away guns and that but our society as a whole needs to be reformed as well starting with the family.
The images of those kid’s pictures still appear in my mind. So what are we going to do about this very sad event and turn it into something positive? There is really no easy answer but hopefully a discussion starts soon before we have another school shooting and many other parents will have to go through the grief of burying their young children.