I haven’t posted anything in a long while, and I have so many feelings swirling around in my head right now that, well, here I am.
First off, as a mother of four very young children, my heart breaks for the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre as well as their families, the first responders, and everyone else involved. We will likely never be able to make any proper “sense” out of this lunatic’s actions.
But, the knee-jerk reaction to “ban guns!!” is also disheartening. I read in the news media that every public mass-shooting event since 1950 (with one exception – the Tucson shooting) has taken place in a “gun free” zone. We’re sitting ducks, folks.
So, what is the real problem here? It’s a mental health issue. We almost always find out, after the fact, that the perpetrators in these events are, well, crazy. Often family and friends are aware of the mental health issues, but don’t think that anything would possibly come of it. How is this possible?
My feeling is that often for the perpetrators of these crimes, their families and communities have failed them. They nearly always come from a divorced or single-parent home. There is no close family connection, few or no genuine friendships, no community or church connection. These folks, usually young men, are loners and apparently have nothing to lose — truly a tragedy.
As a homeschooling parent, I know what my children are up to pretty much every moment of the day. Granted, my kids are young and still fairly dependent on me. But, the lifestyle that Ellis and I have chosen for our family allows us a level of involvement with them that we would not have if we both worked full time outside of our home. If we both worked away from home 40-50 hours a week, we’d have to rely on someone else to provide the bulk of the care for our kids – government school, private nannies, private school, in-home daycare, or some combination of the above. We’d have little control over the day-to-day influences on our kids, but we could probably afford a few extravagant vacations every year, lots of toys, nicer cars, you name it.
Unfortunately, this seems to be increasingly what government is trying to offer us (public school, after-school programs, and “free lunch” incentives often seem little more than “free child care”, freeing parents from the “burden” of responsibility for their offspring). And, government programs – including entitlements — “empower” women to be single parents, able to bear a child and shirk all responsibility for raising that child if they so choose. I’m not saying this happens 100% of the time, but it sure happens more than it should. It was once a disgrace to have children out of wedlock, or to divorce – now it’s perfectly acceptable and you can practically make a living out of it at taxpayer’s expense.
So, when you take your child away from the other half of the parenting equation (or the other half of the parenting equation removes themself of their own volition), life gets really complicated for the children involved. If there is no extended family or close friend network to fill the void (the phrase “it takes a village” was coined for a reason), it is my feeling that these are the children who fall through the cracks, and are failed by society. There are a lot of them, and they certainly do not all evolve into evil sociopaths (thankfully!), but some do.
I don’t have all the answers. However, I can say that loving our children, taking personal responsibility for their physical and emotional well-being, and knowing what they’re up to is one step in the right direction. Did Adam Lanza’s family know he was troubled? (Seems to me that anyone who is “Goth” is crying out for help…)
Being able to possess and carry a firearm for self-defense against some lunatic is yet another key. Some food for thought: