4 Years Post #SandyHook

403600_561568960535815_1444315002_nToday is the four year anniversary since the horrific events that happened in Sandy Hook CT, a small town in the south western part of the state. A town that is home to beloved family and that we have frequented every single Christmas season since I was a child. Twenty young children, six educators, and the perpetrators own mother were killed in cold blood on this very day four years ago. Children who were just a year older than my own son at the time.

It was a huge blow to that small town. I saw the memorials just weeks after it occurred. I’ve been inside the church where many of the funeral services were held following that day. That is a town and a community that was shaken to its core and it resonated out to an entire nation. I remember exactly where I was when I heard what happened and sat and watched the events unfold. I even kept my own children home from school the next day there was school because there had been a threat made in our town after this happened and I just didn’t want to take any chances.

There are so many conspiracy theories about what occurred on that day. Every time I hear one my heart breaks for the families who are being told they are all liars. My oldest daughter started a Facebook page for one of the victims shortly after this happened because she needed a way to grieve. She didn’t know him, but just seeing his picture she felt a connection. The boy reminded her of her brother. The reality of it all was very hard for her. She doesn’t post to the page these days. However, she has me as a co-owner of the page and it does frequently get the conspiracy theorists on the page. Just a few short weeks ago I had to delete a post from someone who linked to a conspiracy site and cursed out the father of this boy.

As angry as the conspiracy theories make me, I’m equally upset with the exploitation that has been done to these families. Somehow Sandy Hook has become the poster child for gun control. If we had gun control this wouldn’t have happened. Serious question here, how so? Because it was a high powered rifle? Well, guess what? At that time in the state of CT there were gun control laws against high powered weapons. The person who owned that gun did own it legally because it was purchased prior to the laws going into affect. She did have to register the gun. The shooter was prevented from purchasing his own gun prior to the events. While yes, he got the gun he used from his own home the owner of the gun had a legal right to own those guns. There was no reason for her not to own those guns or have them in the home. There’s no law that we could ever put into effect that would have taken those guns out of HER possession without violating the constitution. As much as I would love to say those children would be here today if we had stricter gun control laws I just don’t see how.

The shooter could not legally purchase a gun. His only option was to steal it. Gun control couldn’t stop what happened four years ago, it didn’t stop what happened four years ago.

Over the summer I got to see a little more up close and personal what our mental health system is like. A family member of mine was suicidal. He ended up voluntarily checking himself into the hospital and as of right now he’s going much better than he was even with multiple things he has had to deal with. One of those things being that after being discharged from the hospital after his little over a week stay he was put out on the streets. His stay in the hospital was longer than most on that floor, but he was discharged with a lot of outpatient things which made it impossible for him to hold down a job. And he couldn’t get into a homeless shelter. He didn’t have money to stay in a hotel and unfortunately I had no room for him to stay. If this is how we support people who are in such a fragile state, then we have a whole lot to work on there. If people have to choose between their mental health and a roof over their head, then I would say that’s a far bigger concern and in all honesty in the case of Sandy Hook is the area that was what failed the most in our system, not gun control.

Maybe our country could use more gun control, but I would have to argue that Sandy Hook is not the example of that failure. I personally would much rather see us putting efforts into mental health and putting supports in place in that area if we’re going to look at the events that happened at Sandy Hook as an indicator of what we could do better. Just my thoughts and experiences on the matter.

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