Sandy Hook

by stacy on December 21, 2012

If you can’t bear to read more on the subject of Sandy Hill,  please stop reading now. I’ll give you an extra line of text, so you can decide.  No judgement whatsoever.  Exercise self-care!Like you, I am mourning the loss of the children, teachers, and the principal at Sandy Hook Elementary, none of whom I know.   And, beyond the individuals lost, I am mourning the loss of innocence of very young children.  This tragedy will live on in broken hearts and be relived over and over again by the survivors, the family members who lost loved ones, and the entire community who will drive past an elementary school that was once just an elementary school.I want to make a commitment to NOT willfully forget Sandy Hook or to let this tragedy slip from my consciousness.  I do not want to look away when the next big thing comes to pass.  I say this because I have looked away in the past- Columbine, 1999, 12 students and 1 teacher killed;  Virginia Tech, 2007, 49 shot and 32 killed; Tuscon, public meeting, 2011, 18 people shoot and 6 killed. Representative Gabrielle Gifford was among the injured;  Portland, OR, Shopping Mall, 2012, 2 shot and killed; Aurora, CO, theater parking lot, 1 person injured when a man opened fire.

In all of the shootings listed above, at least one news source said, “It’s not clear what lead to the shooting.”  After each shooting, there was public outcry from Americans and International politicians about the gun culture, the gun violence, and the gun laws in the States.  On all of the above mental illness was considered to be a factor.

As we move into the holidays and watch the fiscal-cliff folly in Congress play out, I hope that we do not get distracted and allow Sandy Hook to get pushed aside.   The NRA is set to hold a press conference tomorrow.  As time passes, and we are not so raw, it’s likely that we will make blurry the images from last Friday.  Some of us will once again begin the tussle between the desire for minimum restrictions on our civil liberties and a desire to live in a safe society.  (My friend Corry’s words)

I hope that we will avoid polarization which will  likely lead to an impasse that we can’t afford.(I believe that creating an impasse is a political strategy, not a good one!)  Please join me in thinking of ways to keep this discussion going over the next weeks, months, and years.  There’s a lot of work to be done.

This week, I made numerous trips up the hill to check-in at Coe Elementary, my son’s school. All of the teachers that I talked to are in shock.  And, it’s not simply a matter of if it happened there, it could happen here.  The teachers expressed their sheer anguish that it happened anywhere.  I would bet my house that most teachers would act as courageously as the teachers at Sandy Hook did.  Educating children is a calling.  It’s a demanding profession that does not come with the rewards that it should in terms of social status and financial renumeration.   The teachers and principal at Sandy Hook acted without regard to their own personal safety.  The principal-unarmed-charged Adam Lanza.  I have always said that teachers are not like the rest of us.  They can’t possibly be- 32.5 hours a week in a classroom with 28+ kids ranging in age from 5-18.  Huh?  And, then,  a minimum of 15 hours a week grading, prepping, talking to parents, attending meetings, etc.

If you have a chance, be sure to thank the teachers you know for all that they do.  It’s a big job.

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