What you can do about the Sandy Hook school shooting

When I came home on Friday afternoon and saw my sons’ giant gym shoes in a pile in the hall and my daughter’s fake fur trimmed jacket on the coat tree, I burst into tears. My children were home. I tracked them down—each of them holed-up in their respective bedrooms, hovering over their electronic devices—and gave them great big bear hugs.

Teenagers are normally averse to great big bear hugs from their mom and I tend to respect that, but not last Friday. They hadn’t heard the news. I was the one that told them. At least now they had an explanation for their mother’s aberrant emotional and clingy behavior (including the seemingly random noon-time text to each of them, “I love you!”) But now, like everyone, we’re all searching for explanations for what happened in Newtown, Connecticut.

I wasn’t going to write about it. It’s not my personal tragedy, nor my story to tell. But it does make me hurt. I cried all day Friday, imagining the horror those parents were going through. Thinking about Christmas presents that will go unopened. I’m crying still.

A lot of folks have tried to politicize it, gun control advocates and adversaries. I think the issue that needs to be politicized is mental illness. While I don’t know that Adam Lanza was sane or insane, I know what he did on Friday was crazy. Read this blog by Anarchist Soccer Mom. Here is part of what she says:

 I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am Jason Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.

So where do we start? We can cry and stomp our feet and say melt the guns or advocate for concealed carry. Or we can contact our congressmen and tell them we don’t like the trend in mental health care, that we know the budget is a mess, and there are fiscal cliffs and huge deficits, but I’d rather drive on a pot-hole ridden highway than watch one more tragedy like what happened in Newtown.

Yesterday, I kept my children close. They didn’t go to art class or Taekwondo. We just hung out. And I have never felt more blessed. All three of my children were at home.

Thank you for reading A City Mom! Forgetabout Liking my A City Mom page on Facebook here and/or following me on Twitter @acitymom, PLEASE use the following as a template for your letter to your congressman. Seriously, take the letter and tweak it or plagiarize parts of it or just cut and paste it.We need to be heard.

 

The Honorable (full name)
(Room #) (Name) House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative:

In light of the horrible tragedy in Sandy Hook, I would like to call on you as my elected representative to please raise awareness of the terrible state of our country’s mental health care system, and direct you to take action devoted to securing more funds for its improvement.

Yes, the budget is a mess, with fiscal cliffs and huge deficits, but instead of spending millions in Band-Aid-style, feel good fixes (metal detectors in schools) or tangential “cures” (gun control) we should be spending money to treat one of the major underlying problems that leads to this type of tragedy in the first place: people with mental health disorders need treatment and help, not jail time. (NPR: jails struggle with mentally ill) The mentally ill need more facilities specifically dedicated to their care and treatment, and we as a society need to begin to take the stigma away from mental illness and begin seeing its sufferers as we would any person with any other disease.

Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns and for any effort you can make toward improving our country’s mental health care system.

Sincerely,

(Sign with your name and address or your letter will be disregarded.)

 

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