the nest

the nest

Monday, December 14, 2015

December 14th

Today is a Monday like many others. Everyone in the house is up early. My husband and daughter are out the door and I have a short time to soak in the rays from my HappyLight, check in on Facebook and take a quick peek at my e-mail.
Today is December 14th. It makes this Monday different. Today people throughout CT (and elsewhere) remember Sandy Hook.  We remember the 26 souls taken from the world by a lost and sick young man.  20 children, 6 teachers. Their deaths began a new age in our world, one where we don't feel safe even in the "safest" places.

3 years ago our middle child was struggling with mental health issues. Our December was completely absorbed in keeping her safe and getting her help. 3 years later she is thriving in college. She had access to good mental health services and she DIDN'T have access to a gun. If she had, we could have easily been mourning her suicide. If the murderer of Sandy Hook had better mental health services he may not have done what it did. If he did not have easy access to his mother's guns he would not have done what he did.  No one could have magically made him "better," but we could have prevented his access to guns.

3 years ago we all said "never again." the horror of school children being murdered seemed like more than enough to wake up the country to look seriously at gun control and mental health. While progress has been made, Since Sandy Hook it's not enough.  The Federal Government has been unable to make any progress, so any semblance of sanity on the issue of gun control/gun safety has fallen to individual states. Any progress is good, but as long as individual states have widely disparate laws, too many guns will continue to be available to those who want them.

Here's the problem though. When a "mass" shooting happens there is a lot of activity - statistics are thrown around, social media is busy with people on both sides of the issue. In the meantime, those who could make significant change in this land, don't. What we hear are excuses.  "It's not about guns, it's about mental health." "If more good guys had guns, we could beat the bad guys." "The second amendment protects my right to protect myself and my family." "More gun control won't work, 'cause the bad guys will get the guns anyways." After a week or so, the flurry of activity slows, we move on with our lives and wait for the next time we hear in the news "Mass shooting at a......."
Here's the thing.

"Mass shootings get all the attention, but they are a small part of the overall problem," "On the same day as the Sandy Hook shooting, about 90 other people died as the result of a shooting."(quote from the above link)

The number of people killed as a result of gun violence in this country outside the sensational shootings is not acceptable. Domestic violence, suicide, homicide, accidental.  Just the number of people who are injured or killed when a TODDLER comes across a gun and accidentally fires it should be enough for the powers that be to make some common sense reforms regarding the gun laws of the United States.   

Good Mental Health services continue to be difficult to come by even if you have resources. While progress has been made, there is still more to do.  The work that needs to be done will NOT be done until we value people over things.  As long as those in power value the almighty dollar more than the life of a child nothing will change.  Even when changes are made and those who need it get help, it will still take time. 

In the meantime, common sense gun reform nationwide, could make a huge impact.  To deny the progress made by neighboring countries is foolish.  Fewer guns = fewer gun deaths.  Will it prevent all gun deaths? No. Will reducing the number of guns end all mass shootings? No. Will reducing the number of guns in the US and requiring common sense protections like "smart technology," training, safe storage etc. significantly reduce the number of deaths due to gun violence. The numbers and the experience of Australia, the UK and Japan would suggest YES.

While I am horrified each time there is a mass shooting and December 14th will always be a sad day, I want to see change for the hundreds of thousands of individuals who deaths don't make the news or social media. 

Today on December 14th, I'm going to remember the 26 souls lost at Sandy Hook School, but I'm also going remember the 554 children under age 12 who have died since Sandy Hook due to 
intentional or accidental gunshots. I'm going to remember the 33,599 people who died LAST YEAR in the US due to gun violence. I'm going to remember the 497,632 people who have died because of guns since 1999. 

 I'm also going to pray for the souls of those who stand by and do nothing.

No comments:

Post a Comment