Today started out like most Fridays. Kiel snuggled in bed with me until my alarm sounded, telling me it was time to make sure Noah was ready for the school bus. A quick shower for me, a final check of Noah to make sure he was clean, grabbing clothes for Kiel to change into before we leave for his speech therapy. And then, the bus comes and I tell Noah I love him and to have a good day as I gently steer him out the door. Blowing kisses to him and waving as the bus pulls away. Knowing I will be there at 3:35pm to great him when the bus brings him home.
And the bus did bring him home at 3:35pm and the three of us rushed off to get the boys hair cut in preparation for our visit with Santa tomorrow.
But as I sat and checked email on my phone while the stylist cut their hair, I read about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. It suddenly hit me that there were families (20 if latest reports are correct) that did not get to pick up their children from school today, or greet them as they climbed off the bus.
It is beyond my comprehension. It makes me physically ill to even consider something like that happening to Noah or Kiel. It's like my brain won't let me think in that direction. Road block constructed. Don't go there!
But we have to go there don't we? As parents we have to think about these things? If we don't think about them, if we don't consider how we can prevent things like this from happening again, it could be our kids that don't come home the next time.
We must have better gun control. I believe in the intent of the 2nd amendment, but I also believe we can have common sense gun regulations. You are going to have a very difficult time convincing me that anyone in the general public needs access to a semi-automatic weapon. Or that 20 more kids wouldn't be alive today if someone with two semi-automatic pistols and a civilian version of a military rifle never had access to those weapons. It doesn't matter to me, or to the families of those 20 children I bet, that those guns were legally obtained by someone other than the shooter.
I am sickened, just sickened, tonight as I see people on Facebook adamantly denying that there should be gun regulations. The fact is guns kill people. Guns are designed to kill.
It saddens me that this will again become a political issue. This isn't a political issue. This is a safety issue. A life issue. Guns do kill people. Period. And it is never too soon after a tragedy like this to start the discussion, because it can't continue like this.
(As an aside, this is an interesting article about the lack of available guns in Japan that was written last summer. FYI - I haven't "fact checked" it.)
And as important, maybe more important, we also need better, more comprehensive, and more accessible medical mental health care. Have any of the shooters in our recent history not had a psychiatric condition that someone was concerned about somewhere in their past?
I worry about Noah's mental health every day. Any time a tragedy like this occurs I can't help but think "what if it was my son." And as much as I worry that it could be Noah or Kiel in the wrong place at the wrong time, I mean, what if it was my son that did something like this? What if I'm not getting Noah enough help? I have had to fight for every piece of assistance we have received, and I'm not convinced we have done enough. What if we didn't have the strength to fight for the help we have received? Or the knowledge to know how to do it?
Tonight Noah was mad at Kiel for something, and mad at me because I turned off the TV and separated the two of them. He went to his desk and started to loudly draw. I asked him what he was drawing. Killing people he said.
I'm still finding it hard to breathe.