By The Prophet of Life
December 14, 2013
The media is descending upon the Newtown, Connecticut area today to cover the one year anniversary of the massacre that left 20 children and six adults dead.The buildings at the Sandy Hook Elementary School where the tragedy took place were demolished in October. Sandy Hook Elementary School currently serves students a few miles away in Monroe, Connecticut. The tragedy is ever present in the minds of people who live in and around Newtown and the pain from the tragedy is ever present in their hearts. Yet the media will descend anyway, because private pain, no matter how deeply it is felt, is outweighed by the public’s right to know and the media’s right to make money.
One year after the tragedy, there are still many unanswered questions. Adam Lanza, the shooter, was still a young man when he entered Sandy Hook Elementary School with guns in his hands and murder on his mind. He had Asperger Syndrome, a mild form of Autism. Some who knew him thought he was extremely intelligent but awkward around people. It is likely that he had mental health issues not caused by his Asperger’s. It is known that his life went into a downward spiral, just months before he went on his rampage. By most accounts, his mother was loving, and strongly advocated for Adam to be included in the activities of daily life, but even she had decided to put him in a special school, out of state, where, she believed, he could get the help he needed. As for Adam Lanza’s motive, that still remains unknown, despite a lengthy investigative report from the Office of the Connecticut State’s Attorney.
President Obama pushed hard to get gun control legislation passed in Congress. Parents of some of the children whose lives had been taken joined him in his efforts. Congress never passed any meaningful legislation. It’s not that members of Congress don’t have a heart but a pull at the heartstrings can’t compete with The Gun Lobby and trampling on the Constitutional right to bear arms. The National Rifle Association (N.R.A.) even tried to get school districts to select teachers to carry guns to school to meet potential threats with a lead deterrent. Some school districts actually did just that.
On January 10, 2012 the Newtown Public Schools issued a Safe School Climate District Plan. The plan focuses on surveying stakeholders regarding how safe they feel, and policies to promote good instruction and a school environment which is inclusive and mutually respectful. Nothing in the plan addresses how to protect students in the face of a crisis, let alone a shooter on campus. That policy is still on the Monroe Sandy Hook Elementary School website today and appears to be the only thing that addresses school safety.
The perpetrators of the Massacres at Virginia Tech, Aurora Colorado Movie Theater, Washington D.C. Naval Yard, Sandy Hook and many other recent tragedies all had mental illness issues. Improvement of the Mental Health System has been the subject of national debate since Sandy Hook. Perhaps the Affordable Health Care for America Act will make great strides in improving mental health services in time, but one year after Sandy Hook, improvements in America’s ability to address and treat mental health issues more universally, has seen little improvement.
Everyone would like to live in a society where children, and the promise that they hold for our future, are our number one priority. Everyone would like to live in a society where their safety and well-being is so important, that we never have to worry about it, because it is already incorporated into our thoughts, plans and actions. Everyone would like to live in a society where schools are safe zones that no one dare violate because doing so would be unthinkable. Unless we act to make children, their safety and well-being our priority that society will continue to be the type of society everyone would like to live in, instead of a society where we actually live.
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