Dec. 26, 2012 — Since “My Turn” this month falls on Christmas Day, I’d been thinking about what to write. It seemed like Christmas wishes were in order, and I wanted to try for something cheerful and upbeat.
Then, last Friday that changed, and I realized there was no way I would be able to get through the rest of December without thinking of 26 families in Newton, Connecticut who would be spending the holidays without their loved ones.
Like most humans, it’s nearly impossible for me to wrap my mind around the level of madness and violence that could cause someone to randomly kill 20 children, and my questions are the ones most of us have. Why and how did this happen? Could it have been prevented? Are tighter gun laws the answer? Should we be looking at our mental health system?
News reports say the gunman stole his mother’s registered guns, then turned them on her before driving to Sandy Hook Elementary School where he murdered 20 students and six staff.
Even the National Rifle Association, traditionally silent when this type of thing happens, made a statement, “The N.R.A. is prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.”
Should the emphasis be on mental health? By all accounts, the gunman was deeply troubled and often made people uncomfortable. How, then, do we restrict people with so much darkness in them so they don’t hurt others or themselves?
For the victims and their families, the ‘whys’ probably don’t matter because nothing is going to bring back their child, sister or friend.
For the rest of us, we can only hope to somehow prevent these tragedies in the future.
Shortly after the shooting an essay began circulating on the Internet attributed to actor Morgan Freeman, but which turned out to be written by a man named Mark in Vancouver. Regardless of who wrote it, it made a valid point. The killer’s face is flashed across the screen as he’s dissected, analyzed and discussed. We remember the names: Dylan Kiebold, Jeffery Weise, and now Adam Lanza. Do we remember the names of the victims?
So in the spirit of this holiday season, the time of year when we wish peace and goodwill to all, I’d like to dedicate this “My Turn” to:
Charlotte Bacon, 6; Daniel Barden, 7; Rachel Davino , 29; Olivia Engel, 6; Josephine Gay, 7; Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 6; Dylan Hockley 6; Dawn Hochsprung, 47; Madeleine F. Hsu, 6; Catherine V. Hubbard, 6; Chase Kowalski, 7; Nancy Lanza, 52; Jesse Lewis, 6; James Mattioli, 6; Grace McDonnell, 7; Anne Marie Murphy, 52; Emilie Parker, 6; Jack Pinto, 6; Noah Pozner, 6; Caroline Previdi, 6; Jessica Rekos, 6; Avielle Richman, 6; Lauren Rousseau, 30; Mary Sherlach, 56; Victoria Soto, 27; Benjamin Wheeler, 6; Allison N. Wyatt, 6
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