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When will school shootings stop?

A personal essay from Parenting.com

By Ana Connery - Parenting.com

My son’s principal just sent an email asking parents to come get our kids—and exactly where to find them, as soon as dismissal time arrives in 45 minutes. Only two doors to the school are open now. She mentions scary things like “copycat crimes” in the wake of this morning’s horrific shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut. Considering the similar mall shooting in Oregon earlier this week, the news is particularly unsettling, if not downright terrifying. 

Photo: Cloe Poisson/Hartford Courant/MCT via Getty ImagesMy son, Jav, is 7, the same age as many of the kids who were killed just hours ago. Like Jav, I am sure those kids love superheroes, too, and Disney Junior, and coveted their Wii, DS, Barbie or whatever object of affection they had at the moment they took their last terrified breath. I am sure that, like Jav, they, too, were waiting for Santa, perhaps many of them already sent him letters detailing their wish lists. Santa will now be forced to skip their home, and those letters will go unanswered, and in my mind, there is no seemingly good reason for this.

Details are still emerging as to who did this and why. Guns have been recovered. The age-old debate in America will make the rounds again. Some will emphatically defend their right to protect themselves and their families. Others will explain, just as emphatically, why they are opposed.

Whatever you believe, who protects our kids when they’re in the middle of math class or at the mall, shopping with Grandma? Are we all supposed to start carrying around guns everywhere, just in case? Are we supposed to teach our kids how to use one, the way we teach them to use an Epi-Pen, and send them off to school with one in their backpack? Ridiculous, right? But so is getting an automated voicemail from your school’s superintendent saying there has been a shooting at your child’s school. So is walking into a school with one and killing close to 30 people, many of them far from old enough even to have a Facebook account.

My boyfriend has a gun. He insists it remains tucked away on a shelf, too high for the kids to reach it, unloaded, and locked. It haunts me when we visit him. We never talk about it, but I know it’s there. I was a kid once, too. I was curious, careless--it’s part of growing up. Unfortunately that kind of curiosity can lead to death. I don’t want my kid to end up on the news.

When I drive to Jav’s school in a few moments, my drive will be far different from those parents who drove there just this morning only to learn their child was murdered. I will pray. I will cry. I will hug my kid and take him for that cupcake I promised him for getting a great grade on his math test this week. But my mind will be cloudy, confused, scared.

Of all the things that parenthood teaches us, how to deal with a tragedy like this rarely comes up. For a slew of parents today, the lesson will be forced upon them, and my heart breaks for them.

Photo: Cloe Poisson/Hartford Courant/MCT via Getty Images

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104Comments
Dec 17, 2012 3:33AM
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School shootings will stop, when prayer is restored in schools. If we notice, the world has gotten more evil, and  these are the last days, whether the world want to see it or not.  This Country, was founded on Christians values, now words like God, Christ, Jesus, and Our Lord, have  become synonymous to unspeakable words.

My heart aches for the Parents, Siblings, Grandparents and others. As the Grandmother, of a loving and very intelligent  6 year old boy, is just unthinkable horror.

 

Please, let's get a petition to restore prayer in our Schools. Let's not allow the word under God to be remove from the Pledge of Allegiance

 

 

Dec 15, 2012 6:42PM
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250 people were killed and injured yesterday....BY CARS.....BAN CARS ! Lets see...Kind of stupid isn't it ! Teach your kids respect for weapons....not fear. STOP THE LIBERAL SCUM IN WASHINGTON .Scumbama and friends want this country dis armed at all costs ! What do Scumbama and friends have in COMMON ? Adolph Hitler is thier  HERO !Yesterdays tragedy only goes to show....More restrictions on our freedom makes us open to more attacks like this !WHEN GUNS ARE CONTROLLED ONLY CRIMINALS WILL HAVE GUNS !
Dec 15, 2012 6:26PM
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As I read this essay, tears started to well up! I don't know the correct answer. As a gun owner I don't want to be deprived of my 2nd amendment right. But I don't want guns to fall into the hands of criminals or individuals that are mentally impaired, I do know that Connecticut along with some other eastern states have some of the most stringent gun laws in the country; yet this tragedy happened! I am willing to support any legislation that would close any current loophole that allows the purchase of a firearm without a background check. To me that's only common sense! But how do we protect against a tragedy like the shooting that happened in Connecticut? Where a guy that was reported as "nerdy" and a "loner", but as of current reports, showed no signs that he would commit this kind of act! We have some systems in place. For example, the Colorado movie shooter was identified by a shrink before the shooting as an individual that might implode; but nothing was done! Medical professionals can override the doctor/patient privilege if they fear the patient is a danger to himself or society. In fact by law they are required to do this! But in Colorado this system broke down.

If I knew that banning possession of firearms would be a sure fire way of preventing gun violence in this country, I would throw my guns into a metal shredder in a heartbeat! But I know it will not. What I do know is that states that have adopted concealed carry have seen a reduction in violent crime! Some by as much as 25%! Again, my common sense tells me that you will never read about someone trying to cause this kind of tragedy by walking into a police station and opening fire! They always choose unprepared, soft targets.

Dec 15, 2012 6:24PM
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We need to create a caring society, this would help in decreasing negative behavior and this would probably take many steps and new laws/requirements to stop the increasing violence in America.

Creating a caring community first starts with;

1. Good parenting, all new parents should be required to take parenting classes to help teach their children love, empathy, compassion and respect, because there are far too many children lacking the above mentioned traits.

2. As a 2nd stop gap measure, there should be mandatory school curriculum classes that could teach children love, empathy, compassion, respect and anti-bullying at each level of elementary, junior & high school. And at the junior & high school levels, sex, drug prevention and parenting could be added to the mandatory curriculum.

3. We need to take steps in reducing the number of children on welfare. There are millions of parents having multiple children as a way to have government assistance for most of their life. This type of parent is selfish and will most likely not produce loving, caring, compassionate, respectful children. I believe that a parent receiving government financial assistance for a child shouldn't be allowed to have anymore children. If they give birth to another child while on welfare, then they shouldn't be able to keep the child.

4. We should prohibit or reduce exposure to violent video games and movies to children under the age of 18.

5. There needs to be a ban on multiple round assault riffles to the general public and a mandatory mental health evaluation screening requirement before being granted a license to purchase a gun.

6. There needs to be increased funding for mental health care.

7. There needs to be job assistance, training, counseling and drug prevention programs available to released or paroled criminals.

8. There needs to be embedded sensors built into all fire arms that can't be removed and will trigger an alarm when entering a gun free perimeter at a pre-determined distance. This gun free perimeter alarm sensor could be installed in schools, malls, hospitals, commercial/retail buildings, jails, prisons, fire/rescue and police vehicles.

9. There needs to be ignition lock devices built into all new vehicles that will prevent drunk, impaired people from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle to prevent death & injury to the innocent.

10. There should be a way to embed hidden micro GPS trackers into our children's body, clothing or jewelry until age 18 to track and locate them in case of abductions.

 

 There needs to be a sense of community involvement, there are too many people going around in public with their heads buried in their cell phone devises. 

Dec 15, 2012 6:18PM
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First, the really bad truth, we will never stop killing each other until we evolve beyond our current state of what I call  "primitive brilliance". I'm sure that even the author's son Jav has seen but not necessarily witnessed killing just because of how prevalent the culture of violence has become in our society. Most of us learn about killing as children, we see it in movies, games, even comic books. As long as society can manufacture reasons for one person to take another person's life we will continue to kill and be killed. Second, the plain truth, it is true that a gun lying inertly on the ground cannot without extraordinary circumstances kill somebody however that same gun should be as difficult for someone other than licensed and trained individuals to obtain as is humanly possible, period. Yes, even without guns people will still be murdered and killed but guns are a device designed to make that effort as easy and efficient as possible. You can walk to the grocery store to buy your groceries but your car makes that easier and more efficient. Your car can be a dangerous device, not as intentionally so as a gun, but look at how much effort goes into to making sure the operator is licensed and qualified. Look at how easy it is to determine who owns a car and how many they own. If we can do it for cars why can't we do it for guns? I refuse all the arguments propped up by the blind defenders of the 2nd amendment. Is really patriotic to defend this relic in the constitution at the risk of peoples lives? America is not the country it was when the 2nd amendment was drafted, a gun in 1778 is not the same gun as today. We do not live in daily fear that our country will be invaded, we do not live in daily fear that we will have to overthrow our government, each state has its own militia (citizen soldiers), so the reasons and reasoning for the 2nd amendment have evolved, why can't we? The NRA lobby spends millions of dollars to protect and promote gun ownership as a personal freedom. Yet, I do not believe that the NRA's reasoning is really so altruistic, there is massive profit in selling guns and it is the capitalism of the gun culture that the NRA is really protecting. Third, a personal message for the author, if your boyfriend does not evolve to acquire and unfailingly use a gun safe for his gun then you need to evolve and unfailingly acquire a new boyfriend. His current actions appear to indicate that his love for his gun is greater than his love for you or your son and that is just wrong.
Dec 15, 2012 6:15PM
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This is a very horrific tragady I am am so hurt and numb by what has happened there and anytime when this type of crime occurs. I have two grown children with kids now entering the school system and the protection of our children has always concerned me. I agree with the posts I am reading that tells about ALL of the criminal crap movies that Hollywood is producing, to include: kidnapping, rape, torture, serial killers, mass murders and on and on. Hollywood has always sucked when it came to having common sense about what they produce for the population. Time to hit them where it hurts, when these shows come on make a note of the commercials that are played during that program and send a short letter to the station telling them you will not purchase any of those products and stick to it! They will soon get the message when they are overwhelmed by our correspondence, be true to your values and to your family only we can conquer the crap that is being distributed! Don't buy it and they will stop making it. This also goes for the overly realistic, horrically graphic games that are being offered our children. We owe it to them to bring them up in a manner that gets instilled in their character while they are young that many behaviorial traits are unacceptable. If we allow it in our homes and lives we are saying to our children this is ok. The Bible has warned us of evil and we have over the decades allowed it to increase at an alarming rate. STOP IT NOW! DO NOT PURCHASE IT! BOYCOTT IT! By all means use whatever means you must to protect your families first and then your neighborhood, get to know your neighbors very well, identify any abnormalities and by all means keep your family well informed on what to do in case of emergencies, prepare them with some avenues, check in times, check in when plans change, know who their friends are. We can reduce these senseless occurances in our lives. I have guns and ammunition and my family and I learn to use weapons responsibility: we talk about it we shoot together and we are familiar as to how to safely handle them. We are taking every step we can to be prepared not only for our sake but if the need arises for others as well and it is a comfort to know that millions of others are doing the same for me and you. God Bless the victims, families and others in this tragedy and all other tragedies, seek the one and true God for your comfort for one day we will all see Him, so get to know Him now. With all my heart............................ al  
Dec 15, 2012 6:12PM
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To all those "professionals" trying to talk us out of our rights, why don't we make it illegal for the press to report on school shootings, glorifying and making celebrities of these sick clowns?  It's sad that the victims are being explolited to force a political agenda down our throats.  Perhaps if the First Amendment was put into jeopardy they would think twice.

Dec 15, 2012 6:01PM
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I don't know why people are so horrified at this kind of incident.  It has been our right to bear arms for over 200 years now and it's only been since the late 60s/early 70s that these mass shooting incidents have become prevalent (excepting, of course, the genocide that took place in the 17 & 1800s in this country).  That is about the time our country lost its respect for human life.  First abortion (killing millions each year, which horrifies no one.  (We don't see that in the news); then talk of how to "put suffering people out of their misery by helping them die."  Anyone who believes in the human soul must be aware that human life is in the hands of God and is precious.  Our lacidasical attitude toward human life has put us in this position.  It just has no value.  Get back to valuing morals when it is not OK to "do your own thing"; get back to putting a value on precious human life and you will have a society worth living in.
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