Now that you are informed, the rest of this is a rant, so reader, beware! There have been some recent societal changes since my posting on the "hokey pokey" in October. This country re-elected Barack Obama, there is a FISCAL CLIFF dialogue going on about how the democrats are taking down our country, or the republicans are taking down our country (it depends on your point of view, or you're loyalty). I can't help but go back to my "what if the hokey pokey is what it's all about" statement. Wouldn't that just be the better improvement, to look at all the drama with a wide open view, an know that it's all going as planned. But last week brought on a tragedy that can't go unnoticed and not addressed in my blog here.
This murderous rampage happened regarding a young man and his mental illness. It seems to me, and I have been very vocal about this from the beginning, that America has lost it's way about the second amendment of our constitution.
I have always, and I mean ALWAYS felt that guns are just killing machines. In 1966, my father, a retired Army sergeant, too me and my younger sister out to the cliffs off Mendocino to teach us the proper ways to load and handle a gun. He brought his revolver and a 22 rifle. As a worried father, and with the current civil unrest and riots going on in Los Angeles, it was natural for him to properly prepare us for danger. He was a sergeant in the Army. He taught this stuff to young men in the Army. This was his main purpose of moving us to Mendocino and out of the city area of San Francisco in 1958. There was massive dialogue and fear-mongering about the cold-war and communism. He feared for his family's safety. He also used to talk about how the nuclear clouds wouldn't reach us up there.
As a parent with such concern, he probably didn't realize on the message he was imparting to his daughters. Was it fear or the contempt for others -- or maybe it was an over-reaction of a parent who wanted his daughters to learn how to protect themselves? Very likely the last...but I get incensed about how humans over-react to incidents of irrational behaviors of other people's actions of which we have no control over. By over-reacting, your children absorb certain trust issues, and/or learn lessons and observe experiences that can create problems later in their adult lives.
My late husband, Larry, grew up on a cattle ranch in the rural areas of Southern Humboldt County, in California Owning a rifle was a necessity, because there were times it came in handy to kill a rattle snake, hunt for deer meat, or used to take down a sick ranch animal. We agreed, that while raising our children in the Bay Area - or any city for that matter, a gun wasn't necessary to have in our house. My biggest fear (and a very rare possibility) was someone might break in and take it, or use it on us. Either way, we agreed that we would not have one. As our kids were growing up, I observed how children were being subjected to more and more violence on television. I made sure that family members would not gift any toys to our kids that were guns, or resembled one. It was a challenge.
During the over seven years on the local school district board of education, there were a couple of times we, as a Board, had to deal with an expulsion of a child who brought guns in their backpacks to school. The one that was most significant....a 4th grader had a handgun - BB gun in his backpack. Under the state education code, firearms of anything, and anything resembling a gun were grounds to expel a student. The parents came into the closed hearing with their child to plead for their child's reinstatement. I asked the student (we'll call him Johnny), "Why did you bring this BB gun to school?" He replied back very honestly "my dad and I went fishing, and he was showing me how to shoot the fish". All of the Board members were amazed. When I asked the father -- "Why did you allow Johnny to have a gun that resembled a real gun, don't people use fishing poles for fishing?" It was really a statement, but I was so angered by his lack of judgment, and his idea of what hunting was, it seemed that this couldn't possibly be a PARENT.
There were several other closed hearings of similar events during my term on the Board, another significant memory was the student in high school who thought it "would be cool" to carry a gun in his backpack. I asked him where did he get the gun, his reply: "Under a bush".
It seems in the Connecticut case, this young man Adam, who was most likely emotionally unbalanced, was on a path of taking care of his own problem. He had a parent who loved her guns. She took both of her sons out to teach them how to properly use them. It seems perhaps she was very responsible. But then I remember why and how my father taught me how to shoot guns, and I realized again, that the experiences and fears that he had, were implied onto my persona. As an adult, I chose not to put those fears on my children. Maybe this mother should have done that also.
When it comes to the mental health of our society, we have also lost our way. Parents have few outlets to help them raise a child with extreme mental issues. There is a lot of red-tape involved to get insurance companies to approve the care and attention of mental health issues. I can see a frustrated mother, throwing her hands in the air, giving up on a child that she has tried for over a decade to "assimilate into society". The wrong connection for this mother was her thrill of owning guns. The connection to humanity has lost it's way. There has to be some kind of pivot implemented to move our society out of the violence, videos, and become a more caring world. We need to become more vigilant about the care of mental health, in education, and in treatment of those who suffer from it.
There are too many widows left in this world by themselves because of guns. There are way too many children who have died at the hands of guns. I know of at least two women in my life who have lost their child (or grandchildren) to guns, both through guns and suicide, one of these victims was my nephew.
The second amendment was created because the soldiers who fought in the revolution were volunteers and were required to have their own guns. Those were muskets, not automatic weapons. This country has become a nation of war creation. Wars are not necessary to protect, they have become a means of increasing the United States GDP - be it the military industrial complex (keep those black ops companies hired and pay them more than a soldier), the prison industrial complex (keep those cells filled), or protecting the territory of the energy corporations (sucking oil out of the earth from some impoverished country).
I will most certainly be more upbeat about my blogs in the future, because afterall...I'm Escaping the Jaws of Life, not jumping into the jaws.
Love to everyone, Lori