What Can We Do?


This is a rant – an ill-timed rant that will likely do no good and disappear amid all the other rants.  But heck – it seems everyone is on a rant today. We’re all stunned, all angry, all incredibly sad, and all looking for answers, because we’re all human, and that’s what we do.

And as we search for answers, we push our personal agendas.

Ban guns!

I see this one all over Facebook. Because we all know the tragedy in Connecticut would never have happened if guns could only be obtained illegally. If this kid’s mother hadn’t legally owned guns, he wouldn’t have been armed.

Maybe, maybe not. We’ll never know how he might have acted out differently had the guns been unavailable to him. We’ll also never know what might have happened if one of the adults in that gun-free zone had been allowed to carry a gun.

Thirty-eight kids and six adults died in a bombing at a Michigan school – this way back in 1927. And yesterday twenty-two kids and an elderly woman were stabbed outside a primary school in China. Senseless violence is not dependent on guns. It finds a way.

While I am in favor of gun ownership, I am also in favor of tighter gun control. I personally would not object to having my right to bear arms contingent on an annual psych evaluation – wouldn’t even mind paying for that evaluation out of my own pocket. And yes, I see all kinds of room for abuse there.

The answers aren’t easy.

And then I see the truly hateful and over-shared message that God let this happen because He is not allowed in schools. REALLY? As if God is a vampire who can only cross the threshold if He’s invited?

If you believe in an all-powerful and all-knowing God, then you have to accept that He was in that school and did let this happen. And we’re not meant to make sense of it. Those souls are with Him now, and they’re okay.

Easily obtained mental healthcare for all!

Okay – there’s some merit here. But how do we find those who need this care? How do we get this care to them? I have friends with adult kids who have mental health issues, and these parents move heaven and earth to make sure these young adults have the support they need. They take an active role in these lives – check in, bring groceries, mediate with landlords, make sure the heat is on.

That’s what families do. And this brings me to my point.

The people at risk for doing horrific things are known to someone – family? Co-workers? Fellow students? Every last one of them interacts with others.

Perhaps they interact with us.

The best thing any of us can do is to offer help to someone close to us. It doesn’t have to be a family member, or a friend, although that’s a good place to start. It doesn’t have to be the homeless person we walk past every day, or the Salvation Army volunteer shivering outside Walmart, although again – why not?

If you’re a student, and there’s a kid who’s being bullied, do you look the other way? Or do you step in and risk taking some of the bullying yourself?

Maybe your shoulders are stronger.

If a co-worker appears strange, weird, socially awkward, do you risk being kind, and perhaps having this person attach himself to you like a remora?

There are worse things.

Today, though, let’s stop using tragedy to fuel our personal agendas. Instead, let’s go out into the world and help someone, even if it’s just a phone call to an old friend you haven’t seen in a while, just to ask if they’re okay. Call someone who’s wronged you and tell them you’re over it and you wish them well. Donate your GOOD clothes. Take dinner to the elderly folks up the road. Call the woman who’s in chemotherapy and ask if her kids need anything.

Quit reading this blog and mow a lawn. Plant a flower. Adopt a guinea pig. You never know how a single act of kindness might affect this world.


4 thoughts on “What Can We Do?

  1. Hi Nancy. I agree with you that bringing god into the Sandy Hook massacre is about as self-serving as you can get, but I disagree with you about the guns. I looked up the stabbing in China that you mentioned and this is straight from the news article I read :

    “A doctor at Guangshan’s hospital of traditional Chinese medicine said that nine students had been admitted, two of which were subsequently transferred to better-equipped hospitals elsewhere in the country. At press time, none of the children have died.”

    Contrast this with the deaths in Sandy Hook. I’m not pushing an agenda. I just happen to live in a country where guns are banned and none of us are traumatized in any way by not having them.

      • Dear god…. I knew things were bad but I had no idea they were that bad. The thing that sticks in my mind though is the bit where she says she put every sharp thing in a tupperware container and carries it with her at all times.

        To me, taking away implements that could be used to do harm makes perfect sense… which is why I can’t understand why Adam Lanza’s mother had guns in the house? Would she have used them too protect herself against /him/? I can’t believe that. And in the event, she DIDN’T use them against him. Instead she died and took 20 children with her.

        I honestly don’t know what the answer is with regard to mental health. More mental institutions? More prisons? Locking the mentally ill away forever? Putting them out of their misery, permanently?

        If those are the only options then wouldn’t it be more humane to take the guns away instead?

  2. I couldn’t have said it better, Nancy. Like most of us, I was (am still) a mess over this. But life goes on. It has to, or I’ll never stop crying or be able to get out of bed, and I can’t imagine what those poor families are going through if I’m this much of a mess, and it wasn’t even my children. I’ve prayed and prayed that those kids were protected by angels and had no idea what hit them. I’ve prayed and prayed that my children will be safe. After this happened, there were rumors all over the country about violence in schools because of the Mayan calendar fiasco, and my kids’ schools were no different. It didn’t help that my oldest son goes to Thurston High School, another site of a school shooting back in 1998. Needless to say, my paranoia got my kids an early vacation.

    In all of this I’m just broken. There is NOTHING we can do but pray and hope fate doesn’t strike us like this. Bickering over gun control vs. gun rights isn’t going to help. Neither is arming teachers. I hate how people have taken this horrific tragedy and turned it into a political mud-slinging platform. I’m disgusted by it. I’ve refrained from saying much at all online because I’m just so angry, but since you started your rant, I thought I’d add mine and let some of it out.

    I agree that kindness is probably our only weapon against such deranged sickness and evil, and far too many people forget about others in their whole “me, me, me” mentality. I’m even guilty of it. I’m guessing we all are.

    All we can do is try to teach our kids how to be kind to others. As for the mentally ill, I do agree this is one area where we could possibly do something, but again, getting the help to those who need it won’t be easy, especially if they don’t agree they need the help in the first place.

    I hope you had a happy New Year, Nancy, and may 2013 be a better year for everyone.

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