in the wake…

newtownshootingvictims

 

In the wake of the horrific tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, I feel compelled to share my thoughts and feelings. My heart is broken for the families that lost a loved one, and as a parent, I feel sick to my stomach. Like so many, I feel that now is the time to begin a broader dialogue about mental illness and gun control. I want to embrace the anger and sadness I feel and channel it into action. I have been inspired by the words of my friend Kayla, and Liza Long, to name a few, and feel that speaking out in this public forum is a start. In my opinion, even with gun control reform, there will always be ways to obtain a weapon. I feel we need to address the root cause first and foremost, and provide more comprehensive care for those in need of psychological help. Prevention, in many cases (not all), is possible.

Mental illness is a disease, and like any other, needs treatment. I speak from personal experience-anxiety, depression and bi-polar disorder run in my family. We’re lucky-we can afford therapy and medication, and have great health benefits. There are so many who suffer from much more serious, debilitating conditions that either don’t have access to help or somehow get overlooked by society. All too often, without proper treatment, people fall victim to their own minds. By no means am I insinuating that anyone suffering from a mental illness or disorder would commit such a heinous crime-obviously there are almost always other factors. This is an extremely complex conversation…my goal is to simply add my voice. If there ever was a time to delve deeper into this issue, it is now.

Will you join me and share your thoughts?

 

image via the new york times

Notes

  1. This is ABSOLUTELY the time for the country to ask some serious questions and take the conversation that has continued ever since Columbine and transform it into action. Those against gun control should understand that this isn’t just about curbing access to weapons but about opening the discussion on mental illness which afflicts more people that we care to believe. In stigmatizing these individuals – and it hits close to home as well – we’re sending a message that their minds aren’t worth salvaging. And that, I refuse to accept. Liza Long’s piece haunted me in particular because I used to know someone with ODD who was capable of both instilling fear and awe in those close to him. He has largely remained on his own, unable to maintain relationships and does menial work, though everyone knew him to be capable of far more.

    I truly hope that this tragedy will be remembered as the catalyst for tangible change. It’s high time.

  2. Enough is enough! The dialogue regarding treatment of mental illnesses is way overdue. Mental illness is not an illness one chooses, just as one does not choose cancer. There is a stigma attached to it, and there should NOT be. The more that is known and shared about mental illnesses, the more they will be accepted and more provisions for the treatment of them will become commonplace. Write your congressmen and senators to encourage funds for the education of psychiatrists and public opinion campaigns that make the awareness of mental illnesses commonplace.

  3. Totally agree with the need to recognize and more actively treat troubled individuals through professional help, private or public as available. But let us not forget the parent(s) responsibility. In this incident, the young man had clearly demonstrated a threatening nature toward his mother. She had sought help from various sources but did she do enough? Putting knives in Tupperware and telling your other children to run for the car and lock the doors were not enough. Bullets go through car windows and doors – particularly a powerful rifle. It’s my opinion that if a child threatens a parent, including holding a knife while doing so, that constitutes some form of assault (I’m not a lawyer). He could have been sent to prison (or juvenile center) if a judge had so decided. Is this a cruel step? I say no. It’s painful but there are two other children at risk in the house. Tough love – not easy but under-utilized!

  4. I cannot imagine being a mother in that position, and it seems there was a lot of red tape in the way of the best solution for her son. Let’s hope this issue is addressed further.

  5. I’ve had to stop watching the news since being back at school on Monday. It was sucking the life out of me, and I needed all the energy I had to really be there with and for my kids.

    You know where I stand on all of these issues. Big sigh.

  6. I’ve also had to stop Kayla…so draining emotionally, and I cannot imagine being a teacher and facing all of this. Sending you love…xo!

  7. Also a stronger effort made against bullying in schools and at home.
    The isolated person often lashes out in horrible ways.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *