Being Part of the Solution; In Memory of Josie and the Others

I, like most of our nation, maybe even the world, have deep pain in my heart right now. I know everyone under the sun has written on the Sandy Hook tragedy in the last week but I feel an urge to do so as well. My friend Jen lost her cousin in the Connecticut school shooting. Josie, the cute little girl with the funny green hat and glasses who had two sisters and loving parents, was killed by a heartless coward.

Everyone around me is talking about this horrific act. People are blaming gun control – lack of and too much of, school security, mental illness, even the lack of prayer in schools and anything else they can come up with. People are arguing on Facebook, in the office, and on the streets about how this could have been prevented and what should be done in the future.  Unfortunately, I don’t know that these types of things can always be prevented but there are definitely more things that can be done and we need to be a proactive society instead of a reactive society.

For example, I have never felt that my children’s schools take the proper measures to keep strangers out. I have received a safety survey from time to time and have stated my thoughts multiple times. The doors have never been locked, we don’t have buzzers or cameras, one could easily walk past the office without being seen, etc. One of the schools in our district does require you go through the office to get in the building but if someone came in with a semi-automatic weapon, that wouldn’t really matter.  We did receive several emails over the weekend and Monday from school administrators telling us that safety is being reviewed and measures, including locking doors, are being taken. I’m relieved that it’s being done but I wish it didn’t take this incident. So before the next incident, God forbid, I urge all school officials to review their policies and implement more measures to keep the kids, faculty and staff safe.

Unfortunately, in this incident safety prevention measures didn’t matter. What would have mattered is this man not having access to semi-automatic or automatic weapons of any kind. I don’t understand why these things are produced and available outside of the military. I can’t think of a single reason someone needs to own a semi-automatic weapon. If you know of one, please tell me. There should also be restrictions on how many bullets can be purchased by one person. I can’t buy more than a box or two of Sudafed a month but a crazy killer can buy thousands of bullets. How does this make sense? I’m not saying we should ban all guns (although I’m not a fan of any) I’m saying that no one should be permitted to own a semi or fully automated weapon or more than a few dozen bullets at a time.

I have heard several people say that our principals and teachers should carry guns. I don’t agree with this at all. Having access to weapons allows for the opportunity. I just don’t think that this could turn out well at all. Plus, we don’t pay our educators nearly enough money to have that responsibility. And in this incident, would it have mattered? He was armed way more than they would have ever been. It does baffle me though that we have security guards in public libraries, malls, banks and hospitals but not in schools. Maybe that is something to consider.

People citing the lack of prayer in schools as a reason this happened is laughable to me. I believe in God, I consider myself a Christian and a good person. But I can’t believe in a God who would will someone to kill kids because we don’t allow them to pray in school. That’s crazy and unthinkable.

Mental health is an issue in this country. We do not give the care or resources needed and we need to change that immediately. I know of several families who homeschool their children with special needs because they were not getting the care, education or attention they needed in the public school setting. This shows our schools are not equipped to deal with mental health. Many insurance companies don’t cover tests, treatment or in-patient care. Many people with mental health issues go uninsured because they can’t hold jobs. I don’t know how to fix this but I hope someone out there with power does. With all that said though, I completely believe this killer knew what he was doing. I think he was clinically crazy but he chose an elementary school for a reason. He didn’t want anyone to be able to fight back. He was a coward when he shot his mother in her sleep and a coward when he shot his way in to the school to hurt innocent children and women. I have to wonder why his mother would have ever allowed him around guns since he obviously had mental health issues. I also want to say that I don’t believe for a second that him possibly having Asperger’s had anything to do with this. I have known a lot of people with Asperger’s and they are not violent.

I don’t think we will ever truly understand why this happened. I know I’ve asked myself a million times over the last few days why… I have no answers. The news of this made me think of all my family members who our teachers and my innocent children at school. What if it at was at one of their schools? What if I knew a victim? In a hard to admit way, I was relieved that I didn’t personally know anyone who lives in Connecticut but then I read Jen’s Facebook post. I might not have known anyone but I have friends who do. My friend’s cousin, a cute little first grader, was killed. She was killed by a mentally deranged coward who had easy access to powerful weapons.

Instead of arguing with each other about what could have been done or what can be done in the future, think of Josie and the other 25 victims and their families through the holidays and forever. I do ask that you find a way to be part of the solution but do so without arguing. I think our nations holiday season has been dampened enough with this horrific act. Let’s find a way to help our families heal. Let’s now take the time to honor Josie, her classmates and her teachers. Josie’s memorial service is Friday and she will be put to rest on Saturday, Dec. 22. The family has asked the people across the nation to wear purple, Josie’s favorite color, in her honor.  

What will you do to be part of the solution and lift the spirits of those who were impacted most by this tragedy? Will you wear purple for Josie?


Some ways you can help: