There is a lot of talk right now about gun control and mental illness. I have two close family members who keep guns in their homes, and I suffer from mental illness. Neither of these facts help me understand what happened in Newton, CT, on Friday.
I believe in gun control. I also believe in the Second Amendment and the right of Americans to bear arms. I do not believe that regular citizens need fucking semi-automatic weapons in their possession, and I believe that it should be more difficult to obtain a gun than it is to adopt a dog or buy a car.
I know firsthand about mental illness and the stigma involved in dealing with it. I take several medications on a daily basis to help me deal with my own mental illness. I understand how difficult it can be to get help, not just because of the disease itself but because of the way our society deals with those who suffer. I believe that America needs a healthcare system that makes it easier to get treatment for mental illness.
None of what I believe is helping me understand what happened in Newton, CT, on Friday.
I left work early on Friday and drove the five minutes it takes me to get home, crying all the way. I went inside and hugged and kissed my own small children who were home sick from school.
I have never felt so helpless in my life. What can I do for the families who lost their own small children? What can I do for the first responders who arrived on the scene and saw things that are impossible to unsee. What can I do for the loved ones of the adults who, by all accounts, acted with heroic selflessness to try and save the children in their care? What can I do to keep my own children safe in a world where things like this happen?
Our elementary school (K-5, just like Sandy Hook) has been wonderful. They are now telling us that children at the school are aware of the incident, and that it is better for a child to hear about what happened from a parent than from a peer. I understand that. What I do not understand is how to explain what happened on Friday in Newtown, CT, to my six-year-old son.
To do what little you can, to try and feel less useless in the face of horror, to join with others who want to help: