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Tragedy in Newtown, CT - This was not about us!

Updated on December 19, 2012

Let the world grieve!

Understandably the world is in an uproar over Friday’s tragedy. Once again many innocent lives were taken, and once again….for no apparent reason. We can be sure of one thing though, that in the weeks to come we will begin to learn, little by little, that there were visible signs of something not being right with this twenty year old man whose mental illness brought him to a point where he was able to destroy dozens, most likely hundreds, of lives without batting an eyelash.

I do not debate, that is not my style. I have no problem speaking my mind, telling someone how I feel or what I think. But in my opinion, when it comes to politics, religion, gun control, sexual preferences, abortions, or even something as simple as plastic surgery…it’s none of my business. People are, and should be, allowed to believe in what they want…so long as it does not physically harm another.

My first reaction, when hearing the news on Friday, was intense sadness. I sat at my desk, reading the updates, with tears just streaming down my face…my heart literally hurt! Yes, there were, and still are, moments of extreme anger towards this very sick individual.

I expressed my feelings on Friday (to my world) by posting a collage I created onto my Facebook page. Then I tried to move on to processing this horrendous act (in my mind), which is the only way I know how to begin grieving.

I am in no way related to, nor do I personally know, any of the victims from Friday’s tragedy, but I do believe that all of the debating, arguing, and pointing of fingers that is going on is only hindering their families’ ability to start their healing process. Fighting and spewing anger will do nothing to change what’s happened.

Those lost lives are not gone because of God (or lack of belief), guns (or lack of gun control), or anyone’s personal beliefs…they are gone because somebody was extremely, mentally ill! And I, for one, do not believe for one minute that there weren’t many signs, along with huge red flags going up, to alert the people around him that something was going seriously wrong. Complacency is what kills!

People, if they care enough, instinctively know when something is wrong with a loved one. Pulling from my own personal experiences this past year, I watched one of my sons falling into the abyss. I did the best I knew how to help him pull himself out, but when I saw that all of my efforts were for naught, and fearing that there was a possibility of those around him being harmed, I took other actions. I put myself in a position, and did things, that could very well have caused me to lose the love of my son forever.

Without going into details, the things that I did were to protect others from getting hurt, and when it was happening I saw the hatred coming from my son’s eyes. Yes, it killed me to know that at that very moment my son despised me, but I didn’t know what else to do. My natural instinct was to protect! Thankfully my son came out of the mess he was getting himself into a much better, and stronger, man. I can’t imagine being any more proud of him than I am right now. But I took a huge risk…I’m just glad it worked out!

I can’t understand for the life of me why, or how, the families, friends, or even co-workers, of these people who display obvious signs of mental illness take no action. If you see someone acting erratically, shouldn’t your natural instinct be to try to help? If someone has diabetes, would ignoring it make it go away? No, it would not! Why would mental illness be any different? It does not just disappear, and if gone untreated, it gets worse….FAR WORSE! So please, please, I am begging people throughout this entire world, if someone you love, or care about, is showing signs of mental illness, do something! Don’t just pretend that everything will be alright, and that it will go away on its own…because it won’t. If nothing is done about someone’s mental illness (or signs of), be it that particular person, his/her direct family, perfect strangers, or even you, yourself…SOMEONE IS GOING TO GET HURT!


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    • Wendi M profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendi M 

      6 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thank you so much for clarifying all of the extra information that I probably should have added to my hub. I wholeheartedly agree with you on all points.

      However, at the time that I was writing, I was acting out of anger towards all of the finger pointing and debating that was going on in reference to things that I do not believe had an ounce of relativity towards this situation.

      I do not believe that having stricter gun control and bringing God back into the classrooms would have prevented this...that was not the issue at hand.

      I also agree that there is a serious issue with our health system, especially where mental health is involved. I spent 10 years being treated for depression, to the point where I tried to take my own life (because things were only getting worse) only to find out that I my true diagnosis was/is anxiety/panic disorder...entirely different symptoms, yet no doctor would truly listen until it almost too late.

      Thanks again, Wendi

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 

      6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thank you for writing this. I would caution you though from making this judgment before you have enough information. Last summer in my small town community a 20 year old woman walked into our little community market and started shooting. One man was shot, and another was hit by shrapnel. The man who was shot died couple of months later, the other guy had a minor injury, was treated, and went home.

      It turns out this young woman had serious mental health problems for many years. And a lot of people were judging the family. The mother and brother told the public that they had been trying to get something done for her for many years because she had violent tendencies. She'd go to the state hospital, jail, or somewhere else for 72 hours and they would let her go if she was behaving. Everywhere they turned they could not get the "System" to do what was most appropriate for her and for the public. The woman was devastated, not because she was being judged, but because what she had feared for so long happened; a man lost his life.

      The mental health system has failed people like these young people and thus, the people they hurt and kill. There are no easy pat answers. Different states and counties all over the country have different mental health systems, but there are protocols that are pretty much standard for every system. A person can be involuntarily committed if they are a danger to themselves or someone else. But once they get there, if they settle down, take meds, get a little treatment, they are out very shortly.

      It is a grievous situation, absolutely heart-wrenching. I think in some of these situations it very well could have been that the person was showing signs of illness, but not necessarily signs that would lead the family or others to believe they'd go out and shoot down a crowd of innocent people. I think what baffles me in the Newtown killer is that the mother was a gun enthusiast knowing her son had mental health issues. Unfortunately, she is not here to give her side of it and I hesitate to condemn someone without more information. Like you said, more will be revealed in the coming days and weeks.

      I am very glad that whatever you did with your son worked out well. Not knowing the details I can only say, I hope whatever you did will be possible for more people. Sometimes people do not know enough about the more subtle signs. There are lots of people who have mental illness and act very similar to this young man but do not go out and kill people. Each case is different and it is just not a simple easy fix. Each person with an illness is different.

      In addition, we have to deal with the media who go after the story in a frenzy and other people with mental health or just serious emotional problems see the perpetrator as getting a lot of glory, attention, notoriety. There needs to be some serious boundaries set with the media but with the 1st Amendment (which we need) it is a very sticky situation.

      Lastly, it might interest everyone to know that statistics show that people with mental illness DO NOT have a higher rate of violence than people without mental illness. If fact studies show that people with mental illness who have drug and alcohol issues or who go off their meds are more likely to be violent as far as people with mental illness. But as a whole, the violence in society is mostly people without serious mental illness.

      There are millions of people with severe mental illness who never harm anyone. The media right now are trying to say this young man was autistic so that is why he was violent. How utterly ridiculous. Autism is not a condition that is known for violence anywhere on the autism spectrum.

      It is a frightening world today. There is no one cause and no one answer. God bless you for getting your son help and speaking your mind. An open dialogue is always helpful to get different perspectives and perhaps come up with some new insights that might help toward ending this horrible recurring act of violence.

    • Wendi M profile imageAUTHOR

      Wendi M 

      6 years ago from New Hampshire

      Thanks for reading my hub. This is what I do to express myself when I feel strongly about something, and I do believe that many of these tragedies could be averted if people would just speak up. I understand that it is frightening to not know what to do, but doing something is a whole lot better than doing nothing!

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 

      6 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Thank you for sharing your story. It is difficult to know exactly what to do to get help for a loved one and help for yourself. Sometimes, what seems like a good decision to get help opens up more cans of worms than you ever dreamed, but the bottom line is STILL, we need to shout out, WE NEED HELP OVER HERE, rather than keeping it all a secret or just hoping it will be better tomorrow when the sun comes up. Sometimes reaching out for help ends in tragedy with, for example, a mentally ill person getting killed by the police. And you can't really play God, so to speak, in saying, well, better for one crazy person to be killed than 28! Although, I think some folks will gravitate to that logic. I don't, but I still don't know what the answer is except, yes risks involved, you got to scream out, WE NEED HELP over here.

      Thanks for your sharing.


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