Monday, December 17, 2012

Look For The Lawmakers

Sorry, just can't bring myself to post some lighthearted banter yet; and I'm sure we have all already read plenty about...well, you know.

Just...if I see that stupid Mr. Rogers quote in my newsfeed ONE MORE TIME, I'm not sure what will happen.  But it won't be good.  I don't mind telling my kids "Look for the helpers" when there's a natural disaster.  But I'm not discussing this incident with my little kids at all.  Because, if I did, I would have to explain to them the scariest part of this whole thing: how we, as citizens, lack the political pull or will or whatever to effect even the smallest of changes in our gun laws.  How, unlike the REST OF THE CIVILIZED WORLD, we can't get our lawmakers to agree to ban semi-assault weapons and rigorously regulate gun ownership.

See, I don't find it difficult to explain to my children that there is evil in this world.  That's easy.  Kids grasp that intuitively.  What's harder to explain is our country's unwillingness to do something to minimize its effects.

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20 comments:

  1. The only thing I heard that made any sense was on The View. (GAH!!) I never watch it but I was channel surfing and this guy was saying it's not about gun control, it's not about mental health, it's about PLEASE STOP PAYING ATTENTION TO THE KILLERS, MEDIA PEOPLE.

    Everyone wants to be famous. Some choose the wrong way to do it and the media splashes it all over the place. I can't watch anymore.

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    1. Unfortunately it is also about gun control and mental illness. When you have lax gun control and very little treatment options for mental illness in the country, that's a recipe for disaster. And the guy on the View, while preaching less publicity, was doing just that, more publicity to the event and the killer.

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  2. Good point. I refuse to use the shooter's name, and I wish others would do likewise.

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  3. This was a boy...a boy who had issues obviously. He was on the spectrum(so is my nephew, not blaming that)..home schooled mostly do to his mother clashing with school officials(fellow homeschooler myself)..there was stuff that was wrong that was unknown to us..This was not a case where the parents should have been 100% surprised...my SIL keeps texting me that here in MI the school her 9 and 10 yr old are in is on lockdown..really? She says hers kids are not affected by it. She also is very naive.

    It IS a mental health issue. Anyone who would do this has/had serious issues. I pray for that family. I also have 4 kids, barely 7yrs old and younger, and they have no clue what has happened. My son has sp needs and would obsess if he knew. They also know there are "bad people"...it so hard to keep hiding the paper. We don't watch TV when kids awake so easy to shield them. The mom had those guns. i don't mean to point fingers...but she had a troubled son who had not spoken to his older brother for 2 yrs...2 years.....in the same house...and she kept semi automatic guns in the house and showed them off to her landscaper......just hard for me to understand. may she also RIP..but I don't understand.
    LD

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  4. Jessie - a different oneDecember 18, 2012

    I have a 7 year old and 5 year old twins, and I haven't said anything to them about this on purpose, but have had to turn off NPR quickly over the last few days.

    I did post that Mister Rogers quote on my facebook page the other day to remind myself that there are still good people more then anything.

    I know the shooter's name, and probably will never forget it, but I am focusing on remembering the names of the victims.

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  5. One of my facebook friends reported that she was teaching her kids to "play dead" yesterday. This has gone too far. I really wish that there was something we could really do. I feel that we have gone to far and that even if you made all guns illegal today, the bad guys would still easily get them. I really think that the combination of the gun culture, violence in video games and movies and the media mixed with a serious dose of metal illness causes these horrific event.

    I think that I agree with Suzy, stop making the shooters famous. We all remember the shooters' names, faces or stories but I can't recall any of the victims names in prior shootings.

    Good luck Suburban. I agree that little kids do not need to know about this. It is too much for us to take as adults. Little kids should be thinking about Santa and cookies this week!

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  6. Mr Rogers is still my hero regardless of how nauseating that quote gets after overuse.

    I did tell the 11 and 9 year old in the most simple terms what happened--that children in a school on the East Coast were shot and killed. No details beyond that. Did not discuss anything with the kindergartener.

    But we did talk a bit last night at dinner about guns in this country, and how some of our friends are passionate about having them. We reviewed the family rules about not staying in a room where there is a gun out. If you find one, tell someone. I don't worry as much about mass shooters as I do someone being careless in their home and an accident happening.

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  7. NO one who is not in law enforcement needs a semi automatic or automatic weapon. They are not necessary to either hunt or defend yourself/family. As a former soldier, i know how to handle weapons, but choose to not have them in my house. If the dogs can't handle an intruder, I do not think I will have time to get and load a weapon.

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    1. 2 Navy veterans in this household who agree with you on that point!

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  8. But why would you tell your little children about it? Seems unnecessary distress and fear to present to them. Teaching children to play dead - macabre. Go to your schools and demand better security for starters. Then campaign hard for gun control - it's the only way to stop this happening over and over with such a high mortality rate. Look outside the US to see what other nations have done to minimize the risk of these devastating events occurring in the future.

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    1. The media is saturated with this tragedy, so it is inevitable that some children might be asking questions, is all. And I guess some parents feel that it is better to sit them down and tell them about it before they hear a more frightening version from someone else.

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    2. Sure -for older kids. But I can assure you my kids aged 10 and under do not get exposed to tv news or papers. It would be entirely inappropriate for them to have see that class of sweet faces and know what happened to them. And feeding fear to, somewhat futilely, teach them to play dead etc. I think that is an emotional response by parents desperately trying to control a future event that in fact they have no control over at all.

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    3. Well, here's the thing. Do your 10 and unders only play with each other? I'm not saying they need all the details. But I'm pretty sure that if they play with any other children, or walk by magazines in the store, they are going to see *something* about it. Now little littles - they don't need to hear about it. But your 10 year old? Knows more than you think. Now, the whole playing dead thing is just too much, I totally agree. But your 10 year old is going to hear about it at some point. And I think that hearing it from you, and giving them some coping skills is an important life lesson. When you provide the information, you also give them a framework in which to fit that information. And I think that is important.

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  9. Thank you for providing me with a safe space to voice my fatigue at that "helper" quote and, forgive, general apathy as a child to Mr. Rogers. I'm sure he was a great guy but I found his voice monotonous and those puppets terrifying.

    I feel better.

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    1. I never understood the appeal, either.

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  10. I hear you on that. Plus our collective memory is so short it's embarrassing. My kids know about it, and they also know it has reinforced my ban on certain video games...so weary of shooting and guns.

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  11. My dad went to the same seminary and was a few years behind Fred Rodgers. He was a good guy. (We had his record albums growing up.)
    I kept my young kids from the Columbine seemingly unending news cycle. With this one, I shared carefully with my 13yo.
    I agree that it is a hugely convoluted problem, twisted up with media focused on the one who wanted recognition and revenge, a group of people who have no concept of what the 2nd Amendment was truly about (hello, National Guard), lobbying that ought to be banned, and foolish people who think it's "cool" to have access to or own weapons.

    Thank you to the reader who shared the family rule about what to do if a gun is out in a room.

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  12. I support the right to own guns in our country, but I see no reason anyone would ever need to own a semi-automatic weapon. They exist solely to shoot as many people as possible in the shortest amount of time. However, I don't think this terrible event has anything to do with gun control. On the same day in China, someone murdered nearly the same number of children in a similiar event, with a knife. Before 1970(when guns were easier to obtain) there were 4 school shootings, since then there have been over 60. This is an example of evil, a person who wanted to inflict pain and suffering on other people in a dramatic and public way.
    C Smith

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    1. Actually, the children in the China survived the knife attack so this has everything to do with gun control...

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  13. Knowing you and Mrs. G. were also irritated by the look for the helpers business makes me feel much less like a curmudgeon. I'd like to look for the laws to change.

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