Tuesday, December 18, 2012
This is the time of year to celebrate family, to give of ourselves to those less fortunate, and to focus on the good in all of us. Yet in Connecticut Friday, a young man shocked the nation with a brazen act of violence. Kindergartners died, teachers and administrators died, a mother died, and heroes were born. Anger and confusion raged. We cried together, we grieved, we were angered, frustrated, terrified… Questions emerged. And we started a conversation about guns. What need do we have for automatic weapons other than in warfare? None. What benefit is there to keeping them legal for the average American to buy them? Very little. Why do we need any guns other than handguns and hunting rifles? We really don’t. Sure, there will be arguments for what the police need, other recreational weapons, but essentially, handguns and hunting rifles are the only weapons that serve a purpose. The problem is, criminals will always find a way to own tools of violence. But the saying is true…guns don’t kill people; people kill people. And in this case with Newtown, Connecticut, the crux of the problem has little to do with guns. It has everything to do with mental health. That’s the discussion we need to be having right now. Regardless of what the young man I purposely do not name here had available to him, he could’ve gotten weapons anywhere. Perhaps he wouldn’t have, but the truth is, he was a ticking bomb. An article by Liza Long addresses what issues should be being discussed right now. If you want a glimpse into the true issue, if you’re ready to start talking about the problem that really plagues this nation, Read “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” It will give you a pause, but it will also open the door to understanding the shift in today’s youth. Having just read Jodi Picoult’s House Rules, I have begun to understand that though a mother’s love cannot be dissuaded, sometimes it is not enough. Sometimes there is no warning. Sometimes there are no cures. Sometimes the answers are just as hard as the questions.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
I'm a die-hard patriot. September 11th shook my foundation as an American, but until this year, I had not visited New York City. Now my thinking has changed. I went to NYC for Labor Day to go to the U.S. Open (my PhD celebration). I had no idea about The Survivor Tree... I read the picture book by Cheryl Somers Aubin (a must if you haven't read it) and it made Sept. 11, 2001, so relevant to me in a different way. So many people were impacted that day, lives changed, and our perspective changed. But it brought out the best in us in so many ways, in our nation's unity, and it strengthened our resolve as Americans, as survivors. We are not the same since that day. Innocence is gone. Naïveté is gone. And sadly, the unity is waning. The political ends are more polarized than ever, but as Americans, we can bridge that gap, because what's most important to this country is not our affiliation, not a policy that affects so little of what we do and what we're about. It's what came about that day. The morning of Sept. 11th, we gasped in horror and then we joined hands to help, to heal, and to head into a future with a strengthened resolve. Remember that feeling. It is what helped us overcome that day; it is what re-emerged after Hurricane Katrina, and it can be our rallying cry as we demand more from ourselves, our friends, and yes, our opposition. Americans can overcome anything. Standing at the edge of the reflecting pools at Ground Zero, a sensation pulsed through me. Through the tears of empathy, I felt all those who died for our freedom, for our rights to express ourselves and stand up for what we believe in. And what I believe in is unity. Glancing at faces around me when I was at Ground Zero, few looked like me yet all shared the same expression. Every walk of life, culture, and race wore the somber expression of our loss but also of our resolve. United we still stand. We did not let terrorism break us down. Surely we will stand just as strong as the divisiveness within our country attempts to do the same. Because no matter what you believe, I hope you believe in America first.