What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School is still ricocheting in my mind. Why would anyone want to kill children? How are the parents going to cope with this senseless massacre just days before Christmas? Is there anything anyone could have done to stop it? We may never know. It may never make sense. It’s not supposed to.
Parents aren’t supposed to imagine the unthinkable. A man pointing a gun at children at school. A man firing a gun at children over and over again. Children hiding in closets while their teachers kept them calm and even read to them. A little boy running and running and running out the back door for safety.
If everything happens for a reason, and I believe that it does, the reason has to be so that we change our country. Each of us needs to check on those who have trouble coping. Each of us needs to examine what’s right and what’s wrong with our country. And then each of us needs to demand that something happens. Talk is not enough. Tears are not enough. Anger is not enough. We need change.
Parents of 20 children in Connecticut are planning funerals in the midst of the holiday season. After all the tears, and grief, and funerals, I hope these parents can use this tragedy and teach all of us a lesson, and I hope the rest of us give them the support they deserve. We need better access and coverage for mental health care. No one in his right mind kills his mother, 27 children and adults, and then himself. Something was wrong, and we need to find out what happened. When we do, we need to use that information to craft better legislation so that something like this never happens again. If we don’t, then shame on all of us.
Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children’s Defense Fund, says it better and has some ideas about change.
I hope these shocking Connecticut child sacrifices in this holy season will force enough of us at last to stand up, speak out, and organize with urgency and persistence until the president, members of Congress, governors and state legislators put child safety ahead of political expediency. And we must aspire and act together to become the world leader in protecting children against gun violence rather than leading the world in child victims of guns. Every child’s life is sacred and it is long past time that we protect all our children.
Here is another powerful essay.
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.