Sandy Hook Shooting Parent Reflects on Innocence Lost

Sandy Hook Shooting marks December 14, 2012 as day where innocence was lost.

It has been 8 days since the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conneticut and I must have wrote the beginning to this piece several times before deciding to put aside political correctness.  In this situation I am a parent before a writer.  A parent who is sad and heartbroken for all of those suffering because of the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Conneticut. Moreover the Sandy Hook shooting happened just 9 days before Christmas. As for the evil act itself, well I am angry to the core.  As a parent my heart weeps for those children and adults murdered in cold blood and their families mourning their loss.  Let us not forget those that were spared their lives and the rest of that small community in the southern part of Connecticut.

I have some serious questions about the Sandy Hook shooting.  Questions that I am sure have crossed the minds of so many parents out there after this tragedy.  It is my hope that maybe we can learn or figure out some solutions together!

The Sandy Hook shooting was not like Columbine.  20 innocent children ranging from ages 6-7 lost their lives that day because the wrong person had access a weapon that he should not have.  How did Adam Lanza learn to load his rifles and shoot them?  How did he gain access to them?  If his mother was such a gun enthusiast, then why were they not locked up if she knew that her youngest son suffered from a mental illness?

There has been much talk and debate to why this happened and what we do from now on to ensure our safety in this day and age.  Here are some theories that are circling around.

Republican Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said “I’m a proud outdoors-man and huntsman, like many Americans, and I like shooting, but this doesn’t make sense,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I don’t know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don’t know anybody that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting. I mean, these are things that need to be talked about.”

Ok, I agree with that.  I am a gun owner and there is really no need for assault rifles in the hands of anyone other than law enforcement and our military!  You can’t hunt with them because they’ll blow away the prey and ruin the meat.  Therefore why is it necessary to have them within your home?

Not enough guns? Some gun advocates, like Republican Representative Louis Gohmert of Texas, are saying that the Sandy Hook shooting could have been prevented if more responsible adults in the area — like principal Dawn Hochsprung, who was killed when she confronted the gunman – “Had been armed themselves.”  Yeah, that is an idea which would require serious laws and protocol for arming and training our school staff.  Who pays for the gun classes and weapons to the staff??  Which staff members get guns?  Are the guns locked up or are they being carried?  If they are carried, are they in plain site or concealed?  If they are locked up and there was an attack in a school and the person permitted to use the gun is nowhere near the locked gun, then how does that benefit them?  See, there are some serious questions here on that idea!

The Sandy Hook shooting has left many arguing the need for stricter gun laws or stronger enforcement of those already in place. The guns used by Adam Lanza in the Sandy Hook shooting were legally purchased and licensed by the his mother, Nancy Lanza. We found out that Nancy Lanza was actually the first victim and was shot four times in the head with one of the many guns she kept in her own home for protection. Again, how did he have access to his mother’s guns? Current gun laws do not require applicants to disclose whether he/she has ever voluntarily undergone treatment for mental illness, or lives with someone who has.  Ok, there we go!  Simple.  Require a background check on the person purchasing the gun and the applicant must also disclose all those living or frequenting the home, along with any mental/physical illness that would propose them to be a threat.  Yes it will be a bunch of time consuming red-tape, but it will wean out those not willing to comply with the law!

Adam Lanza raised an issue that many have dodged over the years, mental illness and autism. While some parents are reluctant to address mental health issues in their children or themselves, others find that getting even basic treatment is difficult. There’s also some gray area about the characteristics and types of mental illness.

The shooter’s brother, Ryan Lanza, told ABC News that his younger brother “is autistic, or has Asperger’s syndrome and a ‘personality disorder’,” We are a society that has become numb to people’s needs and illnesses and it’s a shame that something has to happen before we act.  The Sandy Hook shooting shows that as a society we do not try to work with the disability, rather we want the disability to work with us. It’s sad but true!

Another theory here would be the media sensationalizing tragedies and showcasing disturbed people on the air.  Many see this opportunity as their “fifteen minutes of fame” if you will.  Instead of these sickos committing suicide in their basements, they see the news and want one up it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. “Why a grade school? Why children? Because, he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.” I actually feel that this theory makes sense.  Since the Newtown shootings, there has already been another shooting in Penn. with three women being killed in cold blood followed by the shooter taking his own life.  At least these sick people are saving us the hurt/anger/time/money and resources for a trial!  I often wonder about God’s justice here?  What happens to these evil doers or are they just sick and get mercy when their judgement comes? After all, Jesus did die on the cross for all of our sins!

Which leads me and many others to another really important theory of a need for religion back in our schools and more importantly, our daily lives!  Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told Fox News that a lack of faith has led to an increase in school violence.  “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools.” Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?” A really insightful quote he said was “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose.  I agree with what this guy had to say. I can say with pride that I am a believer/follower of Christ!  I am by no means perfect nor do I say I am without sin and my own temptations and vices. One thing some in our nation have done is gone out of their way is to ban God from the public eye. Our country was built on the principles and foundation of believing in God and that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

The last theory on how to prevent another Sandy Hook shooting surrounds the violent video games and pop culture our society has access to. Could the popularity of first-person shooter video games, violent movies, and TV shows that glorify killing have desensitized Americans?  Maybe?  They highten our senses and give us a release, but to some that release translates into the real world.  This theory may coincide with the social media theory and the breakdown with our society’s morals.

“In the wake of last week’s shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., the president announced a new initiative that would include members of his cabinet and outside organizations to generate proposals to rein in gun violence. Vice President Biden is heading up a tall task force.  Obama said that any effort should include new restrictions on guns, but also improved access to mental health services and better management of violence in popular culture. Obama expressed support of his press secretary, Jay Carney, for certain gun measures, including the assault weapons ban, limits on ammunition and closing a loophole allowing gun buyers to elude background checks at gun shows. But he stressed that those were only components of a broader effort to address violence.”  I guess I should purchase that handgun I’ve been eyeing.  As a family man, I am a gun owner for protection.  I also enjoy shooting at the range with my buddies.  As for ammo, I do have a small stockpile for that ever so present but very slim chance on a disaster happening.  That’s how I can justify stockpiling a large cache of bullets.

The NRA (National Rifle Association) chief executive Wayne LaPierre piped in this week with a statement calling for armed guards in every school and blamed music, movies and video games for firearms violence.  “The last thing we need are the George Zimmermans of the world patrolling our schools,” said Kristen Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, referring to the neighborhood watch volunteer charged with killing unarmed teen Trayvon Martin in Florida.

“The head of the NRA blamed everyone in sight – except his own organization – for gun violence in America, and showed himself to be completely out of touch by ignoring the proliferation of weapons of war on our streets,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said in a statement.

Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., said he was stunned by LaPierre’s comments.  “The NRA points the finger of blame everywhere and anywhere it can, but they cannot escape the devastating effects of their reckless comments and irresponsible lobbying tactics.  The NRA leadership is wildly out of touch with its own members, responsible gun owners, and the American public who want to close dangerous loopholes and enact common-sense gun safety reform.”

On the other hand, Dave Workman, senior editor of The Gun Mag, a publication owned by the Second Amendment Foundation, said the NRA news conference “just ramps up the attention to gun-free zones.  We’ve had shootings in shopping malls, movie theaters, schools, colleges – all gun-free zones – so maybe it’s time to take a look at that,” Workman said.

I see both points of view here.  I am not a member of the NRA nor do I condone their conduct or lack of in the past, but I do see a few of their points.  These horrible acts are in fact domestic terrorism and are happening where law abiding citizens are frequenting.  I have friends with permits for carrying concealed weapons and maybe there is something more to look into here.  We just need to make sure we don’t have wild west mentality flowing through people’s brains.

In closing, again I stress my heart and prayers for those suffering in Newtown, Connecticut.  I wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season wherever your holiday takes you.  I end on a heartwarming poem I received by an anonymous writer:

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38

When 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.

Their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.

They could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.

They were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.

They remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.

“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.

“this is heaven.” Declared a small boy.

“we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”

When what to their wondering eyes did appear,

But Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.

He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.

Then He opened His arms and He called them by name.

And in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring

Those children all flew into the arms of their King

And as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,

One small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.

And as if He could read all the questions she had

He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”

Then He looked down on earth, the world far below

He saw all the hurt, the sorrow and woe

Then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,

“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”

“may this country be delivered from the hand of fools”

“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”

Then He and the children stood up without a sound

“come now my children, let me show you around.”

Excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.

All displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.

And I heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight.

“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

For all those lost in the Sandy Hook shooting and those who loss, our prayers and warmest wishes go out to you.

 

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