Bad things. Tragedies. They happen. And I often times see them come in threes. I am sure I am not the only one that *believes* that or has seen that...but this close together and this tragic? Three tragedies in just as many days.
I started writing this post actually last Wednesday (12/12/12) after a local tragedy hit close to home; a shooting at Clackamas Town Center, a shopping mall that our family has visited numerous times over the years. A mall that my husband and I often go to the movies at because it has one of the better sound systems. Clackamas Town Center the *safest* of the two malls within 15-20 minutes of our house. I am not sure that says much these days since nowhere is sacred these days.
They come in threes.
And since I began writing this post two more unthinkable, incomprehensive tragedies have taken place...Another on US soil and another travesty in China. I am sure there were several others acts of violence that have occurred, just not as grand (as horrible as that sounds, calling a violent act grand).
I have retitled and rewrote this post several times because it almost seems surreal all the violence that has been taking place. Words can not even do justice to what people are feeling. Sadness, fear, anger, grief. All rolled into one and then some. And these feelings are felt by the people that are not personally touched by the tragedies. I can't imagine what the families of the victims are going through especially those families in Connecticut having to bury their 5 and 6 year olds. I have a kindergartner. My heart breaks. I can't even begin to imagine what those children went through, what the survivors are going through now.
I remember after the Aurora shootings at the movie theater, I couldn't go to the movies for quite a while afterwards and even now the first thing I look for are the exits and pick my seat a bit more stratigically. And the mall, you can bet you won't find me there anytime soon. I know that might sound as if I am living in fear and maybe I am a little but how can you not? When you can't even feel safe sending your children to school, there is a problem.
And now, how to solve that problem is the question so many people have on their minds. But why does it take another tragedy of this magnitude to get action? That is what frustrates me. A combination of drastic measures need to take place or this will not be the last tragedy that our nation will see, you can guarantee that.
I know we can't repeal the Second Amendment of the US Constitution; right to bear arms but we can limit it further as to the types of arms. Why does anybody need military type weapons? I am not necessarily anti gun, I don't like them, nor do I own any, but I think it is a right people should have in order to protect themselves if/when needed. I however do not think there is any reason your average everyday citizen should have high powered rifles, AK-47's, etc. It just does not make any sense. And anyone living with a person with mental illness, SHOULD NOT have firearms accessible in the home, just sayin.
Not to make excuses for those that have committed these heinous acts but mental illness does seem to be a big factor in many of the recent cases. Many of them clearly show a history of some type of mental illness whether formally diagnosed or not. We can not rush to say that is the "sole" reason why they act out violently but we can't sweep it under the rug either. Mental illness. It leaves such a nasty taste in your mouth, doesn't it? It has such a stigma that nobody talks about it. That has got to change. We need to talk about it, get help for those that are suffering in silence. The signs are there. We, and yes, I mean you and me, regular individuals, need to be observant of those signs and reach out with compassion to those we see suffering. One person can possibly make the difference. Not always, but we don't know unless we try.
And funding, the government, needs to put funding back into social services. How much more clear does it have to be to see that there are people out there that need help! And often times without government assistance, they can not get help. They need counseling to learn how to cope with things that you and I may think are trivial, but to someone with mental illness, the littlest things can send them over the edge. They need medication but do not have a job that provides prescription benefits. They may need to be commited at some point but there is not enough funding for state mental hospitals so they are left to be taken care of by friends and family who are not trained in mental health issues. They do the best that they can do, sure, but it is obviously not enough as you see in some of the most recent cases.
I know that these are not the end all be all answers by any means, but we have to do something. We can not just sit around in lie waiting for the next violent act. And I do know even with banning certain guns, helping those with mental illness, that if people are bent on hurting others they will find other ways to do so. But we as a nation, a government, need to come together and make it much more difficult to act in this way. We don't need to lose any more innocent victims to a few sick individuals.
In closing, I am sure you may have already seen this blog post that has been all over the internet, Facebook, twitter, etc...but it really brings home, how it could as easily be you or I that has a child with mental illness and to make it clear that although I don't agree with Nancy Lanza and her having guns in her home with a son who *possibly* had a form of mental illness, she is also a victim. Let us not forget.
Originally, this blog post was titled, Thinking The Unthinkable and was retitled I Am Adam Lanzas mother by media outlets. I have never read this persons blog until now and I have read that there has been some controversy about her blog and this particular post but it still brings to light a serious issue that needs to be openly discussed. It is a sad day when incarceration is the only alternative for getting help for someone with mental illness.
(slowly climbs down off the soapbox)
If you would like to help the victims/families of the Newtown tragedy, please send donations to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470
|Photo By LUCAS JACKSON/REUTERS|