This article is difficult. Everyone is carrying their own sadness and confusion about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and I don’t pretend that I can say anything that will make sense of this or bring comfort. But I couldn’t imagine writing about anything else. Nothing else seems appropriate or worthy enough. Every other topic seems insignificant and trivial.
Like many of you who may be reading this, I am a parent. I am a mother. And there is no greater horror that I can imagine. Like many of you I’m scared for my kids and all the times they’re away from me, I’m confused about how this could happen, and I’m angry that poor, innocent children suffered through something that no one, let alone children, should ever have to.
On the other hand, I also have a hard time with the comments about our world being such a horrible place, that there’s so much evil in our world, that we should all raise our children as hermits. If that’s the case, what do we have to live for, what kind of world are we raising our kids in? And wouldn’t life be just as sad to live that way?
During a time like this it is hard to remember that for all the bad and evil acts, there is good. There are truly kind, sincere and selfless people out there. If we don’t remember that I’m not sure how we go on.
It’s hard to focus on the idea that while we’re angry, we shouldn’t give attention to the person who committed these horrific acts. That instead we should focus on the victims, on helping the families and staff and students survive this difficult time, and on how we can make changes to prevent this sort of misery from ever happening again. And we should all count our blessings.
Obviously, when something like this happens it brings to light many different topics that do need to be addressed. Ideas like mental health, gun control and school safety, to name a few. These are topics people have passionate and differing opinions about and that raise many questions. And unfortunately, they’re topics that are hard to come to a definitive agreement on.
I look at this situation from the perspective of a parent, who obviously isn’t privy to any of the behind the scenes conversations about security and procedures, but who has more at stake because I have kids who need to be protected when I can’t be there myself.
I can’t help but wonder what we are learning every time one of these horrible situations happens, what changes we’re making, and what we’re doing to prevent anything like this from happening again. Because recently we’ve seen too many of these shootings happen and from the outside it looks like we hear about it, we mourn, and we move on until we hear another devastating story.
To be honest, guns scare me. The idea of them seems so dangerous it actually causes me anxiety. And in an ideal world, I wish that no one but law enforcement had access to them. I know there are many people who would disagree with me. I know what the counterargument to that thinking is. I know many people would cite hunting and safety and a plethora of other reasons when they talk about guns. And I’m not saying they don’t have a valid argument, but I just can’t go there.
I come from a long family line of police officers. My dad was a captain for the Chicago Police Department, my brother is also a Chicago police officer and my other brother is a county sheriff’s officer. So maybe I should be more comfortable with guns, but I’m not. Maybe I constantly fear for their safety and the people they encounter every day who have access to guns of their own and it scares me.
I feel like more often we hear about tragedy from guns being in the wrong hands. And I find myself angry that this person and shooters before him have access to multiple guns.
This is a conversation that could go on and on. And I realize it’s a conversation that includes making help accessible to those with mental illness and putting policies and procedures in place to keep our schools safe.
Right now, I just pray for all the mothers, fathers, family and friends who have suffered through such devastating loss and I hope that one day there can be peace for them all.
Debbie Carroll was born and raised in Chicago and recently relocated to Lee’s Summit. After spending many years in the fields of marketing, communications and education, she is currently at home with her two young daughters.