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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Waiting on the world to change

Four years ago, the unfathomable happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  Children and adults who tried to protect them were slaughtered in a place where they should have felt safe, where they should have BEEN safe.  After that horrific day, there have been terrible shootings in San Bernadino, the Navy Yard in D.C., and Orlando just to name a few.  Since Sandy Hook, there have been 186 shootings on school campuses in the U. S.

ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY SIX.

What are we going to do about it?

I don't know.   I don't have all the answers; hell, I don't even have one answer.  One thing I do know, however, is that nothing has changed.  There are still mass shootings and individual shootings and horrific public spectacles of hate.  And what are we doing?

We're arguing about "illegal" emails.  We're arguing about deflated footballs.  We're watching celebrity meltdowns with a gleeful sense of schadenfreude.  We judge people who say "Happy Holidays" and others who say "Merry Christmas." We're blatantly ignoring the fact that maybe something could be done, and we're just not doing it.

Maybe we're all becoming numb when we see the news of yet another shooting and more death and more sorrow.  Perhaps we fall asleep at night thinking about how lucky we are that it wasn't us.  It's always someone else, somewhere else.  Worse yet, there are people who believe it never happened, and Sandy Hook was simply filled with actors playing parts.

This is unacceptable.  It was unacceptable then, and it's certainly unacceptable now.

Now is usually the time when people chime in about the rights of gun owners and the Constitution and, you know, the things.  But I don't care.  I really don't.  What is it the kids say, "Sorry, not sorry"? The victims of Sandy Hook had rights.  Those little ones, 6 and 7 years old, they had rights.  Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness were stolen from them in single, awful moments, so please, don't tell me about your right to be able to shoot whatever you want.

While you're decorating, baking, buying, caroling, and hugging this holiday season, take a moment to think about the families who can't hug their loved ones this year because of a gun.  Really think about it.  Then think about what we need to do to ensure that this won't keep happening. Unless we all decide to make a change, the horror of all of the mass shootings will become just another blurb in the news.  We're better than that; we truly have to be better than that.

On the inside of a kitchen cabinet, I have a list of the victims of Sandy Hook.  It reminds me each and every day to be sure my children know how much they are loved before they get on the school bus and to kiss my husband every single time one of us leaves the house and to let go of the little things in life that are annoying, to be sure, but unimportant.  The list reminds me to live, but it also reminds me that there is work to be done, hard work.   I hope it reminds you, too.

Charlotte Bacon, 6                                            
Chase Kowalski, 6
Daniel Barden, 7                                                
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Noah Pozner, 6                                                  
Josephine Gay, 7
Jack Pinto, 6                                                      
Emilie Parker, 6
Jesse Lewis, 6                                                    
Caroline Previdi, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7                                          
Arielle Richman, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6                                              
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6                                                
Allison Wyatt, 6
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6                                    
Vicki Soto, 27
Madeleine Hsu, 6                                              
Mary Sherlach, 56
Olivia Engel, 6                                                  
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
James Mattioli, 6                                              
Rachel D'avino, 29
Lauren Rousseau, 30                                        
Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Go to Everytown for Gun Safety for more information.

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