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Connecticut

mourning wreath
I spent yesterday crying, off and on, over the school shooting in Connecticut.

I attach a link only for those of us who may have spent yesterday off the Internet and don't know. I am not going to display pictures, Twitter posts, or other links. I think most of you already know the country has gone nuts with grief, rage, and defensiveness, while the rest of the world wonders if it isn't time to put us in a cage.

While there are a number of things I would like to be saying, and I am almost trembling with rage over some of the things I have seen this morning, I have places to talk about that. (O happy, happy Facebook.)

I want this to be a place where people can talk without fear of being jumped on. If you disagree with what someone says here, say "I disagree," and drop it, please. The shooting of little kids leaves a special wound on our society, and I want people to be able to talk about that and feel safe. I want people to ask questions of one another and get answers, not glib insults.

Can we do that? In the middle of the insanity? Our dead deserve better than name-calling, finger-pointing, and fistfights.

Comments

( 65 comments — Leave a comment )
nicoli_dominn
Dec. 15th, 2012 03:56 pm (UTC)
Almost everyone I know (including myself) was talking about how this is clearly an issue of mental health as well as access to firearms...if there were arguments about anything, they were about gun control, but almost everyone sees that access to affordable mental health care is hugely important. If everyone were able to get the treatment they needed, we might have fewer incidents like this. And I can attest to that; while I was once suicidal, threatening and verbally abusive in one of my worst depressive episodes, others turn homicidal or physically abusive during their worst moments of mental illness. People's pain affects them in different ways. It gets that bad because we don't have access to therapy or medications, but it doesn't mean we're bad people. It means that something is hurting us from the inside and we need help fighting it so that we don't give in.
tammypierce
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
I agree 100%. I saw the collapse of the long-term mental health care system in the 1970s and 1980s, and I feel that if proper mental health care were available, including longer-term hospitalization to get people properly adjusted to their meds and understanding they will have to keep taking their meds before they are released once more, we might have fewer homeless as well as fewer incidents like these.

I know that most of the mentally ill are not at all violent. I also know that if even one of this year's mass killings had been prevented because the killer got proper psychiatric care, and if the mentally ill who are now housed in prisons were getting proper care, I would be very, very grateful.
nocturnallady
Dec. 15th, 2012 04:29 pm (UTC)
these days so many kids are being brought up in a culture that encourages self-centered-ness combined with parents who dont take the time to actually teach their kids right from wrong and dont teach their kids t be kind t others, so is it really that surprising that some kids end up snapping when they have known no kindness or real caring and have been bullied (which this IS the case with many of the past school shootings, and is likely to be the cause for this one too) .... it really isnt that surprising when more and more people are being put into situations where they are stuck with no control and no way to better their situation and end up loosing hope because it has happened even despite them doing everything right and making responsible choices up till that point... when a person has lost hope and no longer feels they have anything to loose then yeah they are much more likely to lash out especially if they are young and have never KNOWN any goodness. and lets face it the cruelty levels of kids these days ARE much worse than they were even a decade ago, though some of the excuses they use for that cruelty are different since many of the past sorts of discrimination have been cracked down on, but others are now treated SO much worse.
nocturnallady
Dec. 15th, 2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
oh and also just an fyi... the countries that make it hardest to own weapons or guns also happen to be the countries with the highest overall crime rates... because if owning weapons that could be used for self defence is turned into a criminal thing, then only criminals will have said weapons which means those criminals are going to be much less worried about people standing up for themselves since they will know that the law abiding people wont HAVE weapons to be able to defend themselves. what we need is a more responsible country who doesnt leave guns where people can get at them who shouldnt.
(no subject) - red_rapture - Dec. 15th, 2012 11:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - nocturnallady - Dec. 16th, 2012 11:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: more guns, less crime - tammypierce - Jun. 26th, 2013 07:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - Kate Wagner - Dec. 16th, 2012 04:19 am (UTC) - Expand
deborahblakehps
Dec. 15th, 2012 04:38 pm (UTC)
Certainly there seems to be an issue of mental health here (and in all these cases--let's face it, mentally healthy people don't go on shooting rampages). But it doesn't seem to have anything to do with affordable, accessible care, since the shooter's parents were apparently well-off financially.

On the other hand, on Facebook I saw an amazing chart that listed the gun-related deaths in the US as compared to many other countries. I don't remember the exact numbers, but it read something like" Britain--24, Netherlands--18, USA 10,000. You see my point here. These guns were legally purchased in a state with relatively tight gun control laws. But why on earth would anyone need to have them? You can't tell me that there is any use for semi-automatic guns except killing.

I have friends who target shoot, and others (I live in the country) who hunt to provide for their families. None of these people use semi-automatic weapons to do so. I have long been an advocate for gun control, and I realize this is a difficult question, but clearly, SOMETHING has to change.

Sorrow, sorrow, sorrow.
nocturnallady
Dec. 15th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
actually there are a few towns in the us where all homes are required to have a gun and know how to use one ... and in those towns the crime rates are some of the lowest in the country.. its not the having the guns that is really the problem its the having them and being irresponsible with them and leaving them where a kid can get at them that is why guns are an issue... we do have a very irresponsible culture. i do have friends who do have semi-automatic weapons (including an ex boyfriend of mine) but they are people who are VERY responsible about not leaving them where kids or people who shouldnt could get at them.
(no subject) - idhren24 - Dec. 15th, 2012 05:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nocturnallady - Dec. 16th, 2012 06:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tammypierce - Dec. 20th, 2012 11:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nocturnallady - Dec. 21st, 2012 12:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - deborahblakehps - Dec. 15th, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - amireal - Dec. 15th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - deborahblakehps - Dec. 15th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
labelleizzy
Dec. 15th, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
I saw a very good suggestion on FB this morning on the Pigtail Pals page... to write a letter of support for any teachers you know who will be having to talk to their own students about what happened at Sandy Hook.
I was a teacher for many years, and it can be incredibly lonely and isolating, never more so than at a time like this...
catwithclaws
Dec. 15th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
it's heartbreaking, both for the innocence lost and the sheer size of this. he could have killed his mother at home like, unfortunately, hundreds do every year.

I 'get' the logic behind saying there need to be tougher gun controls, but it's entirely too late to do ENOUGH. there will always be guns here, and without the legislation going insane (and really? they won't. too much power and history behind the 'right' to bear arms in this country), this will be the same for decades to come.

Seen the contrast with the slashing of school children in China that *also* happened the same day? That's a country with nearly impossible access to guns, so 'cutting' incidents are the thing that happen. Horrific still. Just slightly less deadly.

(many links, this one touches on my points: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/15/not-just-sandy-hook-china-s-terrifying-knife-attacks.html )

What I REALLY hope comes of this, hopefully when more things are understood, is talking about the access to health care and specifically mental health care. Beyond being something that when denied damages the person, in some causes (see the Colorado one this summer as well, haven't kept tabs on the 'mental' state of others but presume they were most if not all having serious issues) damage to MANY others when things like happen.

I don't believe in 'coddling' people either, but if there had been an easy walk in clinic for mental health that this fellow drove by (or ANY of this year's incidents), do you think, just maybe, it might not have happened?

Sadly, we won't know. But I'd love to see some *hard* facts and numbers about access and treatment available vs. numbers believed/diagnosed
iqeret
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
While not denying that mental health care is important, my impression is that access would not have made a difference in this particular case. Lanza has been described as an extremely shy, quiet person, to the point that he didn't even have a class photo because he wouldn't sit for the camera. There doesn't seem to have been _anybody_ he talked to, and his aunt has said that his parents would have sought help had they believed he needed it. Based on personal experience, talking to someone--even or particularly a 'stranger'--may have felt even more painful than whatever he was experiencing. And you can't 'help' a person if he does not show/say something is wrong.
(no subject) - amireal - Dec. 15th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - nocturnallady - Dec. 16th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nicoli_dominn - Dec. 16th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
rirenec
Dec. 15th, 2012 07:07 pm (UTC)
Off topic: since Sheroes was originally conceptualised, I've always appreciated how you open discussion without derision or judgement, TP.
tammypierce
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
Oh--thank you! It just seems that with people shrieking everywhere else, there ought to be at least one place where we can talk and listen, especially when things are so emotionally fraught.
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idhren24
Dec. 15th, 2012 07:11 pm (UTC)
I've seen a lot of focus on the child victims and their families, and on the shooter, and his family; I'd like to take a moment with you all to also remember the adult victims and the school they gave their everything for. Both the school principal and the school psychologist were among those killed; the NYTimes article about them (Two Educators Went the Extra Mile for Students) suggests they were pretty incredible people.

To love, and teach, and serve - it is never in vain. Requiescat in pace, omnes.
deborahblakehps
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:24 pm (UTC)
Very true. Thanks for the reminder.
(no subject) - tammypierce - Dec. 20th, 2012 11:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
maiaarts
Dec. 15th, 2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
I really recommend reading the Huffington Post article by Lisa Belkin: Gun Control is a Parenting Issue. I won't post the link here, but I really respected what was written there.
tammypierce
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
You can post the link--I just don't want pictures here, if that's okay.
auntiesiannan
Dec. 15th, 2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
The local United Way branch has set up a fund to help the families of victims. https://newtown.uwwesternct.org/

Funeral expenses are not something that parents of young children budget for, so please help if you can.
tammypierce
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this!
(no subject) - nagasvoice - Dec. 16th, 2012 12:11 am (UTC) - Expand
hippydippymama
Dec. 15th, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
I so appreciate you NOT posting the pictures. I can't deal with this right now. I know that's selfish and awful and unsocially aware of me, but I had twin baby boys six weeks ago and I've got hormones up to here and just thinking about it makes me want to throw up and build a cabin in the woods and homeschool them and possibly not teach them English. So I'm not engaging with anyone about this.

And I feel like the picture are in really really awful taste anyway, especially that one of the mother (sister?) crying on the phone. I've made and gotten those same phone calls before. It shouldn't be displayed in some kind of grief orgy for the nation.
tammypierce
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
I don't think you are any of those things. We're all sensitized to certain things depending on our physical health and what's going on in our lives. Normally Law & Order: SVU is my relaxation viewing (I know; I'm strange), but last night I couldn't bear it, or any other cop show.

Don't deal with this. You don't have to. You have brand new twin boys (mazel tov!), and with luck they will grow into good, stable, kind men with a sense of humor (because you really need that to live in this world). Your job is complex enough without the national self-flagellation and orgy.
(no subject) - rockinlibrarian - Dec. 15th, 2012 09:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lbfmusic - Dec. 15th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
skjaere
Dec. 15th, 2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
I'd like to take time to remind people that this is a good time to participate in our democracy by writing to your congressperson (very easy to do online) and urge them not to remain silent on the issues of sensible gun control and easy access to mental health care which might help prevent these kinds of tragedies. It only takes a few minutes to write an email. We need to make our voices heard in the halls of government, not just on the internet.
tammypierce
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
Good suggestions, and important ones.
(no subject) - nagasvoice - Dec. 16th, 2012 12:09 am (UTC) - Expand
deborahblakehps
Dec. 15th, 2012 08:26 pm (UTC)
Tammy, I'd like to add my thanks to the others for giving us a shrieking-free place to talk about this. I had to get off of Facebook because it was too...soul-shredding...at the moment. Here it is quiet and thoughtful discussion with no finger-pointing. Thank you.
rockinlibrarian
Dec. 15th, 2012 09:49 pm (UTC)
This. I was coming here to say pretty much exactly this, so let me just second this instead.
(no subject) - tammypierce - Dec. 20th, 2012 11:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
lied_ohne_worte
Dec. 15th, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
The first culture shock I had on my student exchange visit to the US was the unlocked cupboard in the living room of my host family that had several rifles in it, and hearing that the eleven-year-old son had been taken hunting already. Our visit was shortly after the Columbine shooting, and I remember a Social Studies teacher doing some very subtle prodding by asking the US kids how many of them had guns in their homes - many of them, and how many had already used them - almost all of those who had guns. If I read him correctly, he would have liked to go into a deeper, critical discussion what that meant in regard to the shooting, but he pulled back before it became controversial, although I think he made some people in that class do a bit of critical thinking in their own time.

I'm really horrified by what happened; we've had a few shootings here as well in the last years, but nothing like this one. Just today, I took part in a big choir rehearsal that involved a lot of children, and the youngest were just five, standing there all proud and nervous singing foreign-language Christmas songs at the top of their voices - the thought that someone would so something like that to such small, helpless beings, and the people who care for them, is unimaginable.

I really hope there can be some way of improving things in the US in the long run. I've seen online that there are already people who want all teachers to be armed, too, and that... in a peaceful country people shouldn't have to arm themselves to the teeth or put metal detectors and armed guards everywhere because they have to fear other armed people. I met so many open, welcoming, and friendly people during my stay in the US and later online, and I wish with all my heart for them to be safe and without fear.
catnip13
Dec. 15th, 2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
What I keep seeing is this sentiment: "Those _____-gun people are such heartless monsters that they would jump on this tragedy to prove their political point."

Both sides of the divide, saying the exact same thing. I disagree strongly. "They" aren't. They just want their kids to be safe, same as you and me. They just don't agree as to what the best way to ensure that is.

I wish I knew how to fix this. Ban guns, wrap the whole lot of them up and drop them in the deepest part of the ocean, and someone, somewhere will turn to bombs or poison gas or whatever horrors they can dream up. But I don't think that increasing guns is the answer either.

Making it harder for the mentally ill to get guns? Who decides that someone is mentally ill? The doctor that prescribed valium for the 'anxiety induced breathing trouble' I had a couple of years ago (that turned out to be pertussis)? Does my ADHD, depression, insomnia, and social anxiety (plus a history of OCD that went away when I stopped taking medications for ADHD) mean that I'm not 'safe?' I don't think I'm a danger to society, but I've got years of therapy in my medical records, plus, I'm sure, a cute little write up about how I told that particular doctor where he could put his valium.

And it wasn't that long ago that homosexuality and gender dysphoria were considered mental illness, either.

There are no easy answers, I'm afraid.
nagasvoice
Dec. 16th, 2012 12:34 am (UTC)
Thank you, this. I have been seeing some thoughtful discussions about how difficult it is for authorities to sort through the information already out there (who has rights to see what records? etc.) and make decisions about potential violence, even with reasonable access to the best health care.
Even more impossible in a system where poor people have to fight for scraps of mental health care at a time when they're very ill and least able to handle anything in their lives.
Plus, nothing there to work with for people who have no record of ever seeking help, or publicly needing it.
All the media whoopla will just make the stigma worse on seeking care.
(no subject) - catnip13 - Dec. 16th, 2012 12:58 am (UTC) - Expand
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DrealikeWHOAH
Dec. 15th, 2012 10:52 pm (UTC)
I spent all last night crying. Those poor little kids. My siblings are that age and my heart broke when I thought of them and their families. Ugh, I'm crying again now. I can't think of anything else except for the loss of those little lives.
lilrongal
Dec. 16th, 2012 05:00 am (UTC)
I just want people to be able to talk about it without someone popping in and going "now is not the time for this discussion." Some of us HAVE to talk it out to process it.

What a horrible thing to have happened. :(
shilea
Dec. 18th, 2012 02:25 am (UTC)
super OT, but thank you for the introduction to Chuck Prophet, TP!
urwen_sakurafu
Dec. 19th, 2012 08:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you for making a safe space for this. This sort of thing doesn't really happen in Britain - I guess we're lucky in that we have very strict gun laws, and in that mental healthcare is free. Bullying and mistreatment of youths and children with disabilities, leading to suicides, is still endemic though.
tammypierce
Jun. 26th, 2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
my bad accident comment delete
I accidentally deleted a comment by mtrose2 , so here it is:

"The murder rates have gone down by half in the last 20 years, despite the fact that firearms laws have been getting much laxer throughout the country, and every state but Illinois allows some kind of conceal carry.

"Additionally, in every category but the admittedly important one of murder, Britain's violent crime rate exceeds our own, depsite the fact that it's nearly impossible to own guns there and there have been calls to even ban knives. Additionally, I have good reason to believe that their crime rates are seriously under-reported; if you do not believe me, then please research the works of Theodore Dalrymple. Perhaps murder is evil, but living in constant fear of criminals who regularly violate your rights with complete nonchalance because he knows you're not allowed to defend yourself by law is hardly preferable to a free individual.

"I'm not going to post specific links, because these are things I've read repeatedly over a long period of time, not stats I just dredged up to reply to you. But with a little digging of your own, you can confirm that what I say is true."

My apologies, mtrose2 . I responded, but I don't know where that went, and I'm packing for a trip, which is why I did something so screwy in the first place.
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