Weeping for the innocent
words are hard to find
Yesterday I was having what I thought was a bad day. I was sick, had an issue with my phone company that was not resolved the way I wanted it to be, continued on to have a problem with my cable and then an upsetting phone call from my Asperger son's school.
But my day was nothing.
Several parents and families of those lost in the Newtown CT shooting had the worst day of their lives. A day no one wishes upon another under any circumstance. As a mother and a teacher, I cannot wrap my head around this. I have shed tears as I have not in a very long time. I have hugged my children and are very grateful they are healthy and well.
Today the sun dawns on new issues.
The brother of the killer has suggested that he had some sort of autism. The media of course jumps on this, labeling once again those with Aspergers or on the spectrum as odd and having personality disorders.
Here is my two cents on this. There is no need to vilify, label and ostracize an entire group of people. This is what will ultimately happen: Parents will NOT get their children diagnosed and they will NOT receive the help they need. This WILL indeed result with adults that have emotional and possibly criminal issues due to the lack of treatment and help they require. This will also result in those who HAVE been diagnosed being treated as dangerous and unworthy of taking part of society.
Every diagnosis is different Every person is different. Every child is unique. Most cases involve duel diagnosis. Many times the additional diagnosis is benign, nothing to worry about. Sometimes it is a condition that warrants concern. This appears to be the case in this situation. However if the media does their usual work of promoting hysteria, we may have serious trouble brewing for the large population today living on the spectrum. I certainly hope, but do not have faith, that the media will act responsibly and educate the public rather than create hate and anger.
My second beef here is that we should not be promoting any political agenda at this time of great sorrow. Gun control would not have saved these babies. Does anyone remember that the killers at Columbine had also prepared home made bombs to use if necessary? There was school violence in China a few days ago that involved stabbings. On September 11, 2001, we lost a large number of Americans. Weapons of choice: Airplanes. If someone is intent to do harm, they will and disarming people who wish to defend themselves in a responsible manner is not what we need. Checking someone mental illness history is acceptable, enforcing the use of gun safe and safety devises on guns, all well and good, but there will always be that one that falls through the cracks. That "good" citizen that snaps. If you ban guns, how do you stop the gang bangers? They do not obtain their weapons legally. Bottom line is you will promote and increase illegal sales. Law abiding citizens will be worse off than before. Studies show that disarming citizens raises crime levels. I am non violent. I have no desire to have guns around my children, however, I believe in the constitution and I do not believe we should continue looking to change it.
What I believe is that we need to stop over medicating our children and their parents. We need to stop putting chemicals with names so long one can never hope to pronounce them in our foods. I believe we need to stop running up the prices of utilities, gas, tolls, food, entertainment and what ever else we can think of so that people can live again. The stress levels are horrible. How horrible that large companies are handing out huge bonuses while their workers are struggling to eat? Why is it now $15.00 to cross a bridge from Staten Island to Brooklyn at a time when there are families in both boroughs that will be homeless for the holidays? Why is our government forever looking to cut services to those with mental issues? Take a walk on any day and notice the large number of people who should be psych patients just wandering the streets. Sitting at bus stops talking to themselves. Check out our ferry terminals. Mini psychiatric wards. Why is my ASD son encouraged to get a diploma on time, which he is at age 17, and then be told there are no state services or programs for him until he is 21? So he is to sit home with me and regress? Perhaps this is what happened to this young man? So let's not blame the diagnosis, maybe let us look at what parents are asked to do with the diagnosis. We are forced to fight for every single service possible. We are forced to leave our jobs to "take care" of our children. We must justify all that our kids need, while people living in the "system" just keep giving birth with various fathers and are awarded check after check. Our system is broken and is getting broken more each and every day. The UN sought to take away more parental rights recently and truly make it impossible to get our children appropriate help. And if anyone thinks for one minute that our kids will survive Obama care they are out of their minds. Our child will become too expensive. They are already. They require too much care. No one understands that this "care" is hope, it is a wish that they will be someday be part of society, not a drain on it and definitely not someone who does something as horrendous and nightmarish as this.
I am a teacher as well as a parent. I have cried for two days over this tragedy. The sweet babies that walk into the classroom glowing with joy waiting to share with their teacher and classmates what they did at home. Then bounding from the classroom into Mom and Dad's arms filled with stories of their day. Yesterday, for 20 families there were no smiling babies waiting for them at the end of the day. There were no good night kisses after bedtime stories. There will be presents that will never be opened on Christmas morning. I cannot breathe when I think about this happening to any child or parent. It is a nightmare that no one deserves to know.
What I am thinking is that we have to mourn. We have to take time to let this sink and then learn from it. Think about how we can help society in general. How we can make the memory of these poor innocents and their heroic teachers and principal more than just horror. Make this a time for us as a nation to turn a corner. To realize that we need to come together. Recognize what is happening. Acknowledge that while change is good, good, old fashioned values should not be forgotten.
Last night I hugged my children. I sat on my daughter's bed long after she was asleep and watched her, grateful for every breath she took. I took joy in my beautiful family and set the anxiety I had been feeling for the past few days aside as we decorated our Christmas tree tonight. Every moment is precious and cannot be taken for granted.
I am sure we will continue to weep for these beautiful children over the next few weeks, maybe longer. We should. We should also weep for the family of the shooter because they have to live with this. In their wildest dreams they would not have thought he would do this or if they did think he would snap, to kill all these little ones, they have to live with this pain and guilt as well. His brother has lost his mother. Those that will mourn her will do so privately due to the circumstances. Nothing but tragedy in the last few months of this year. Hurricane Sandy devastating our coast, destroying homes and killing many last month and now this senseless mass murder.
We must pray. Even those who do not believe in prayer, do something. Stop and sit silently. We must ponder on how we can save our country in a way that will not incite more violence. We must stop hurting each other in all ways. We must find a way to live together no matter our differences. We must take care of our children. They cannot raise themselves. Parents MUST be parents. They also must be allowed to be parents. Parents must support the education system and they must be positive role models. I don't know what the answers are, but we have to figure it out before we lose everything we were built upon.