Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Sad--And I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore

One of the most moving images for me was seeing the balloons that well-wishers had left with the requisite flowers outside Sandy Hook Elementary. This photo reminded me of that. I now imagine these sweet kids soaring through the sky like 20 perfect balloons--free, happy, at peace. I have to. (Image via Pinterest)
Forgive me, but I'm going to take a big detour from nail polish and necklaces today. Like so many of you, I am sad right now. Really sad. Maybe it's because I'm a mom, maybe it's because I'm pregnant, most likely it's because I'm human, but I just can't get the Newtown elementary school nightmare out of my head. It's too much. The fact that children--little children--were massacred, the horror that some of them were shot as many as eleven times, the unfathomable thought that their tiny bodies had to lay on the classroom floor all night under the watch of dog-eared storybooks and art projects that would never be carried home, and the frightening realization that these parents' lives--and that, just as easily, any of ours--could be utterly devastated in an instant.

I keep trying to make sense of it, but I'm slowly realizing that this is just not going to happen. It doesn't make sense. It won't make sense. I have never been that person who comforts herself by believing that everything happens for a reason. No one can convince me that there is any possible reason that 20 five- and six-year-olds had to be killed--gunned down within an hour or so of putting on their backpacks and mittens and kissing their parents good-bye for what everyone naturally assumed would be just another day. Until it wasn't. 

But while I don't believe that there was a reason that this tragedy had to happen, I do believe that it is within our power to use it as a reason to do something now. I have long been someone who believes that we need stricter gun control (to say the least), but admittedly, I've done a really crappy job of demonstrating that I'm a person who feels this way. I've been lazy, consumed with other things, naively thinking that someone else would handle it. Well, not anymore.

No one's "right" to bear arms trumps a first grader's right to go to school without being carried out in a body bag. No private citizen needs to own an assault weapon designed to hunt people, not deer--certainly not a Connecticut housewife or her mentally disturbed son--and certainly not something called a Bushmaster. No one should be able to waltz into a gun show and buy a killing machine without a serious background check. And no one should have an easier time obtaining a gun than buying freaking One Direction tickets. 

I am sad and I am mad. And I have to do something. We all have to do something. It's time. 

If you feel similarly, here's the good news: Doing something can be easy. Sign a petition here (or here), email your congressman and your senator, tweet this post or others like it, read and share smart pieces like this one by Nicholas Kristof, chat with friends at your job/your school/your church/your playgroup and come up with ways to band together to make change happen, ask--no, demand--that something concrete be done. 

There will never be a reason that Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Ana, Dylan, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, Emilie, Noah, Grace, Caroline, Jessica, Madeleine, James, Benjamin, Jack, Avielle, Josephine, and Allison had to die, but if change happens because of it, we may just ensure that future children don't have to.

I'd love to hear your thoughts below. 

7 comments:

Sami said...

I think this is so well written and I completely agree. Something needs to be done. Yes, we should pray and mourn but now more than ever something has to be done. I live in Aurora just 10 minutes from the movie theater where the shooting took place in July and I thought we needed to do something then! My heart aches for those children and their families and if there is anything at all we can do to keep it from ever happening again.. we have no choice but to fight to make it happen.

Cate said...

I am not anti gun but i do think they shouldn't be passed out like candy! thank you for writing this.

BeautyBlitz said...

Agreed. Thank you for writing this, Alyssa. I haven't been able to translate my feelings into words, but you've hit the nail on the head.

Whitney said...

I am 25 and a single female. I have nothing to relate to these people who have lost their children besides the fact that I am human, as are they. I don't think that its because youre a mom, or pregnant that you feel this way. It is because you are a genuinely good person who feels empathy towards others.

like Cate said above me, I am not anti guns. I think that they are, in the right hands, a good source of protection for your family and belongings. I own them, my family owns them, but they are all safely hidden and properly used. Along with legally registered! However, i do believe that stricter laws should be in place. background checks, mandatory licensing, limits of how many one household can own, mental health screenings, SOMETHING other than walking in to a convention center and paying $600 cash with barely an ID check. I am heart broken over the loss of these children, but I think that more important than the gun control argument, we need to be focused on the mental health sector. Our country doesn't take this seriously. And each and every time a switch flips in a rabid human being's mind, and causes them to take lives of innocent people you ALWAYS hear people saying "he has a history of depression" or "he was always angry, and a loner". There are warning signs, and it is not to be taken lightly!

Have you read the article on the Huffington Post called "I am Adam Lanza's mother" ? It was truly moving and heart breaking.

Hope you are able to get some sleep soon

hannah said...

I could not agree more. There is no reason for people to have assault rifles in their homes. There is no reason for them to have hundreds or thousands of rounds of bullets.

There is no excuse for gaps in the system that make it easy for unstable people to have access to assault rifles.

I know that Friday might not have been the day to talk about guns and what needs to be done about them in America but it is Monday now and something, anything, has to be done to fix the gun issue that is allowing things like this to happen multiple times in each year.

People can blame this on the mental health system but the fact is Australia has the exact same problems with the mental health system but they don't have these events because we enacted strict gun control laws the *first time* we had a massacre like this. Mentally ill people need help, yes. But that's a lot harder to fix than making it hard to get guns.

ENV Nicole said...

This is so awful. It's beyond awful. I agree, what do we do about this?
Maybe part of the issue is that we live in a culture that is consumed with buying bigger homes, having the best cars, the right shoes, and collecting things that others envy.
This country values " A way of life", more than "life itself", and there in lies much of the problem. I am sure there is not a parent on this planet that would care about whats in their closet, or whats in their bank account if their precious child did not return home from school. We live in a free country, and I do believe that a private citizen should have the right to own a gun.
HOWEVER, I also believe NO ONE needs a gun that shoots 50 bullets in 10 seconds. There is not a private citizen ANYWHERE that needs an assault rifle PERIOD. Not to hunters- no one, it's ludicrous There are weapons that should be available to military only.
Whose child has to be killed before this will be taken seriously??
I have a 3 year old son, whose birthday happens to be tomorrow. Every child has the RIGHT to their next birthday. No one needs the RIGHT to own an assault weapon. ENOUGH!
I have signed a petition for stricter gun control, and I am currently seeking out political "leaders" to hold accountable. If we all do at least those 2 things- maybe it's a start??

Chelsea MacMeekin said...

This is an incredibly well-written post. People can argue gun-control until they are blue in the face, but it is hard to argue that a person's right to bear arms trumps our children's right to go to school without fear. I hope that if anything good comes from this, it is that our nation turns a more scrutinizing eye on gun control laws and what we need to do to keep everyone safe.

Chelsea
Haute Child in the City

Post a Comment