In My Opinion
My Thoughts After Sandy Hook: Don’t Let Fear Win
My heart hurts. My soul aches from a place so deep that I cannot explain it. As the tragic events unfolded in Newtown, Connecticut I could not imagine the grief that so many are experiencing. As a parent the thought of losing a child in any manner is unthinkable but to have them brutally murdered is beyond unthinkable. As a teacher, I find myself wondering what I would do in a situation such as the one in Sandy Hook Elementary School. I want to believe that I would be able to withstand such trauma; I hope and pray that I never find out. I want to believe that I could stand in the face of danger and be brave; I hope I never have to. I want to believe that something like this will never happen to me; I pray it doesn’t.
Everyone wants to point a finger and blame someone for this tragedy. And everyone wants to share their ideas on just how to fix the problem. Personally I do not have all of the answers. I am not too sure there is one right answer; maybe there are a lot of small answers to one big problem. And then there’s the problem of identifying the problem. Some think it is a gun control issue while others think it is a mental illness issue and some even believe that it is the parents fault for raising him the way they did. We’ve heard religious figures sharing their thoughts and those who are not so religious sharing theirs as well. The one thing I have heard consistently is that there is a sense of fear running through our country right now and it has everyone in a panic.
Having had many conversations with parents at my own school and friends within my community and those in my social media network, there are two topics that seem to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind; guns and fear. As far as gun control, I personally will never own a gun and do not feel that they are necessary in my personal life; however, I believe that they are a necessary part of society. What I don’t agree with is having assault type weapons that can hold hundreds of rounds of ammunition available to the general public. In my opinion we do not need guns on the street that enable others to hunt people. My own brother has a permit to carry a gun and does so every day. I am not comfortable knowing he has it in my presence, but he has a legal right to do so.
Fear can and will ruin your life. Constantly living in fear will prohibit you from living the life that you are meant to live. Parents who choose to pull their children out of school (public or private) because they are afraid are choosing to take away the opportunity for their children to receive an education and learn necessary social skills. Locking our children away to keep them safe is not a good idea. Children need to be able to grow, learn and prepare themselves for the world around them. It is important to teach our children to be safe and cautious; we must find a way to do so that discourages fear from life. If we live in constant fear then the “enemy” wins. If we find a balance between fear and fearless then we win.
As much as I mourn for the terrible loss in Newtown, Connecticut and for all of those affected by this senseless unthinkable tragedy, I refuse to live my life running scared. When we react in fear our children will react in fear. Fear can be as crippling as a disease. Allowing fear to creep into our lives is no way to live. Pointing the finger of blame will not fix the problem either. Educating ourselves and our children about safety, caution and preparedness in a crisis is important. The staff at Sandy Hook did everything they could to ensure safety; unfortunately, evil was able to creep in. Don’t allow that evil to win; force that evil to stay away and refuse to live in fear.