Monday, December 24, 2012
I figure to start in on New Years early, for a couple of reasons. One is the Mayan calendar end of cycle and start of a new cycle (I won't live long enough for this next cycle of theirs to end -- a lot more of a bang towards resolutions when it's not a yearly process but a big big landmark like this one.
It coincides with a holiday I do celebrate, the Winter Solstice -- the longest night, and now we shift towards increasing light each day.
And, frankly, we need some light after the Darkness that engulfed my extended community on December 14th, which a killer murdered 27 people in a town that takes me about 15 minutes to drive to. I won't dignify the guy with a name, or any capitalized epithet -- I want him to be forgotten, but I want the memory of all his victims to live.
The town of Newtown is apparently recieving many donations; I've volunteered to go over and help at a warehouse later this week. Apparently, many people are sending toys and momentos for surviving children both at the school where the horror took place and for community children at large, and the items need to be sorted.
As many have mentioned of late, mental illness is an issue that needs addressing. It appears that the troubled-ness of this killer was noticed before he committed these crimes -- although no one could possibly see THIS coming. Apparently, some effort was being made to put him in an institution, but since he was legally (if not emotionally) an adult, the process is not easy, especially since he had no past history of violence registered on the books. It is a strong suspicion (which probably never can be verified) that the guy was informed about what was going to happen, and that's what set him off. (There's no way of institutionalizing an adult in Connecticut without their knowledge before it happens.)
Solutions? I don't know. I seriously don't know. Arming teachers? No, I've been through school myself and I'm sure of at least one who would probably have let us have it if she'd been pressed enough -- she certainly could be violent without a gun. Armed guards? One for each door or other potential entryway? Maybe chains and bars on the windows? Might work, but school really shouldn't be a prison. Outlaw certain guns? But there are already so many of those guns out there in the hands of the public.
No, nothing will make people totally safe. But, better perhaps? I don't think anyone really has an answer, and as for as putting God back into public schools, who gets to decide which god? We don't have a state religion for some dang good reasons our Founding Fathers appreciated. Besides, the guy's mother was a practicing Christian. There are no simple answers.
Kindness and peace are great virtues to cultivate, and I hope we can all look at the worlds we wake up to each morning, and remember each morning what we value and love and respect. Would that prevent tragedies such as Newtown? Perhaps not (certain forms of mental illness are likely not to be solved that simply), but it will permit each of us ourselves to be able to appreciate those around us, our children, our family, even our co-workers or even just that guy you see once a month when you happen to notice him delivering your mail.
Peace to all, and to all a happy (happier) New Year, whether you count from a couple days ago or from a week from now.