** UPDATE: 12.15.12 I have edited the post to remove the name of the individual responsible for this atrocity. No one asked me to, but I made the choice to do so because I didn't want the focus of this post not to be the crime itself but it's effects, my personal feelings about the tragedy and what we can do as a global community to move forward and make things better. Speaking of making things better; as promised I listed a few ways that everyone can help to comfort the families directly affected and work to make sure awful events like these never happen again. Thanks for reading! ***
As most of you know a terrible tragedy befell the people of Newtown, Connecticut and our entire country. A gunman, entered an elementary school and opened fire killing 27 innocent individuals including 20 children, between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.
And the only thing that courses through my mind is why? Why did this happen today? Why does this keep happening?
The gunman perished in the massacre, so we won't be able to ask him and perhaps over the coming days and weeks law enforcement and our relentless media engine, who is not above questioning freshly traumatized children for a news report, will piece together a motive or a reason to explain this horror, but it won't be a comfort to the families who lost loved ones or to people like me, who are considering starting families. Even as I type this I wonder is it worth the joy only to know it can be ripped away without cause or explanation?
All I thought about today are the parents who dropped their kids off at school today and spent the early part of their morning wrapping holiday presents or perusing letters to Santa for last minute gift ideas only to hear that the place they viewed as a safe haven had been violated by what can only be described as an insane person.
And I'm not talking just about the parents in Connecticut, whose suffering was by far the worst, but I'm talking about every parent. My Facebook newsfeed buzzed with the outpouring of grief from parents whom as we speak are considering homeschooling, placing their children in bubbles or moving to Europe. The most touching sentiment I read came from my sister in law who said, "When one parent loses, we all lose." As I drove home from dropping my husband off at work this morning all I saw were school aged parents with their children. These were parents who had obviously heard the devastating news and rushed to be with their children, not because they thought they were in immediate danger but just because they wanted to be close to them, to touch them, tell them they love them and because the news of this tragedy brought home the stark realization that everything you love in the world can be taken from you in an instant now matter where you live, who you are or how much money you earn.
I'm not trying to minimize the grief that we're all feeling, parents or not. My heart breaks at the thought of anyone losing a loved one, but the knowledge that 20 of these victims, between the ages of 5 - 10, were completely innocent, practically incapable of committing any sort of offense that would even slightly plausibly warrant this kind of horrific violence in their short lives is something I can't even begin to attempt to understand.
Why did this happen?
Why were these 27 souls were chosen?
After the initial shock wears off, if it ever wears off, these families with have to deal with the grim realities of funeral arrangements & costs, and even the most fortunate ones who've escape this catastrophic event with their lives have astronomical medicals bills to look forward to. In the coming days and weeks (I can't even believe some of these parents will be burying their children a week before Christmas.) I will continue to look for opportunities to support the families affecting by this tragedy and share them here:
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To assist the families directly affected by the tragedy in Connecticut:
The United Way of Western Connecticut, in partnership with Newtown Savings Bank, created the Sandy Hook School Support Fund to help provide support services to the families and community that are affected.
Check donations may be mailed to:
Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470
To donate by Credit Card
If you have questions on the fund, you may call 800-461-0672.
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To assist in the ongoing fight against gun violence:
The Brady Campaign works to pass and enforce sensible federal and state gun laws, regulations, and public policies through grassroots activism, electing public officials who support common sense gun laws, and increasing public awareness of gun violence. Through our Million Mom March and Brady Chapters, we work locally to educate people about the dangers of guns, honor victims of gun violence, and pass sensible gun laws, believing that all Americans, especially children, have the right to live free from the threat of gun violence.
The Brady Center works to reform the gun industry by enacting and enforcing sensible regulations to reduce gun violence, including regulations governing the gun industry. In addition, we represent victims of gun violence in the courts. We educate the public about gun violence through litigation, grassroots mobilization, and outreach to affected communities.
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To enact mental health care reform and change the conversation regarding individuals with serious mental health issues:
Active Minds’ goal is to help students become emotionally healthy before they reach the point of crisis by empowering students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others, supporting students in making lifestyle changes that promote sounder mental health, encouraging students to seek help when they need it, providing information, leadership opportunities and advocacy tools.
NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raise awareness and build a community for hope for all of those in need.
NAMI is the foundation for hundreds of NAMI State Organizations, NAMI Affiliates and volunteer leaders who work in local communities across the country to raise awareness and provide essential and free education, advocacy and support group programs.
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Also please keep the families of the victims of the heinous attack that took place earlier today in China in your thoughts. A man identified as mentally unstable and armed with a knife injured 22 children and one adult outside of an elementary school in Henan in what is reported as the latest in a string of these sorts of attacks. Though, thankfully, there were no fatalities; support is needed more than ever to help each other through these trying times.
*** I haven't found a fund for the victims in China. If and when I do I'll post it**
I hope that we can come together as a global society to embrace and support each other and try to make sense of this tragedy. Whether it be looking closely at gun control laws, examining protocols for treating the mentally ill or just simply being nicer to each other.
I want to hear from you. What are your thoughts on this tragedy? Do you have children or are thinking about having children? Also, if you know of a way, beside prayer and privacy, to help the families affected by either of these tragedies please feel free to share it as well.
that's all for now.
thanks for tuning in.
until next time (hopefully under happier circumstances)
Keep Adding Bliss (and take care of each other)