Changes they are a comin’…I hope

On this third day of school since the tragedy in Connecticut, as I dropped my daughter off in front of the school, I observed not one child going to the side door, that is always kept locked, and asking to be let inside by students.  This is a door that my daughter used to use to save time in the morning.  At one point weeks ago I saw her turned away from the door and after school she reported that the teachers were yelling at the students inside to NOT open the door.  Neither of us got the reason at the time….duh! But that was one of the first things I thought of on Friday…as I attempted to digest the horrible news: “Oh so that’s why they don’t want the kids opening the door for students outside,” and one of the first things I said to my daughter this past Friday afternoon as I, not part of my normal routine, picked her up from school. I wanted to see her smiling face and hug her to me….something the parents of the young victims at Sandy Hook Elementary will never be able to do again…..

You can tell at my daughter’s school that parents and their kids have talked about the tragedy in Connecticut by the fact that not one of the students, that I’ve seen these past three mornings, has attempted to be let into the school building through that side door.   The administration at the school also had a lock-down drill yesterday, which I had “E” describe to me.  And the district website has a letter on it, from the superintendent, addressing the Sandy Hook tragedy and the district’s response to it…. all of which is not surprising.  What is surprising is hearing republican pro-gun proponents, legislators included, speak out on the subject of gun control, saying that changes must be made.  Also surprising is learning that the owner of the company that makes one of the weapons, used by the shooter on Friday, has put the company up for sale, (click on link to see article) which maybe shouldn’t be so surprising as PR and image are such important aspects of a successful business.  Children and teachers fallen at the hands of someone wielding such a weapon certainly does not make for good PR or a positive image for any company.

Sadly what isn’t surprising is hearing that the sale of that exact weapon has increased to the point that one merchant, who sells guns in his sporting goods store in Seattle, said that there were more customers for the gun than there was inventory on hand;  and that is in progressive Seattle.  These customers are afraid, not so much for their safety as for their right to “bear arms” being restricted or taken away.  And there is the local middle school student who is reported to have come to school on Monday with an unloaded pistol, who said he was encouraged by his parents to bring the gun to school for his protection….So certainly there are people afraid for their children’s lives and certainly that child has absorbed his parent’s fear as well….

In the meantime there is a “fiscal cliff” our country is on the verge of toppling off of and legislators who are insisting on cuts to existing social programs to make fair the President’s push for a raising of taxes on Americans making upwards of $400,000 per year.  If these cuts include funding for mental health it will, of course, be nothing new to that sector of our population as past President Ronald Reagan dealt a huge blow to funding for treatment of people with mental health issues back in the 80s.

I’m just wondering when we as a nation of people who, according to our President, have the responsibility of taking care of our children and, as he so eloquently stated when he spoke at the Monday evening memorial service for the community of Newton, Connecticut, they are ALL our children, will stop allowing ourselves to be bullied by people who have so much more than enough of money, guns, POWER.  I’m also just wondering when we will begin to delve deeper  than mass ownership of weapons and issues of mental health and lack of treatment for it that is effective, accessible and affordable, to the issue of  how imbued with violence our society and our lives are.

Because if we as a society of people cannot begin to address this core issue  then how can we truly take care of our children as our first and foremost task, and give to them a society that is worthy of their innocence and potential for great good?


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