Thursday, November 20, 2014

~ remembrance ~

I remember 9/11.  I remember watching live coverage of the shootings at Sandy Hook.  And today I have added another day to my memory.

But this one is different.

This morning I woke up an hour before my alarm went off and felt strange - I'm a light sleeper and have two wild kittens, so this is not out of the ordinary, but this morning just felt different.  When I turned on my phone and opened facebook, I felt like someone pulled the floor out from under me.  A shooting.  A school shooting.  But this time not at a school I've never heard of or have to google to find out where it is.  This one is different.

This one is home.  This one is the town I've spent my whole life in.  This one is the school I've rooted for and worn the logo of since before I could speak.  This day, what happens in other towns, other schools, happened here, and now I fully understand the shock and terror that strangers on the news talk about.

No one I know was hurt or one of the hundreds who found themselves stuck in the same building with a shooter, but everyone I know is feeling something today.  We, as a nation, are not strangers to school shootings.  They happen, they leave the nation shocked and confused, they are remembered, but ultimately they fade from our immediate memories and our lives go back to normal.  But until we change our ways, we are doomed to repeat our past.

Here's what needs to change:

  • mental health care.  It makes me so angry when I think about the mental health care in this country.  THINGS NEED TO CHANGE.  There are so many people out there who need help - not to be ignored.  These people are so often cast aside and isolated.  Simply throwing medication and stigmas at them will not help the problems.
  • our attitudes towards the aggressors .  I know it's a hard thing to talk about, but in most shootings in this country, the aggressor is killed.  That person has family and friends, and in so many cases, those friends and family members are just as shocked as everyone else.  Tonight I not only think of those injured, but I think of the shooter and what he must have been going through to think of killing as an option.
  • gun regulation.  I don't care what political party you belong to.  I DO NOT CARE.  I don't care whether you think "guns don't kill people, people kill people," guns certainly make that killing a hell of a lot easier.  Think of all the shootings this country has seen in the last ten years.  Are you honestly telling me that guns had NOTHING to do with that?  Anyone can walk into Walmart and purchase a gun, anyone can buy a gun off the streets, anyone can borrow a gun, steal a gun, and use that gun to kill.  Take away that gun and I'm pretty sure that situation would have a very different ending.  
These, among many other things, need to change in order for us to move forward and get out of this cycle.

Though I would rather forget this day, forget the fear and the anger and the panic, forgetting is what keeps us on the same road we're on.  I hope we continue to stand together and remember this day for what it was.  And I hope one day this type of event brings a reaction of "We must be the ones to stop this from happening in the future," instead of simply "Again?"

My thoughts go out to all those affected.


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