I am beside myself with sadness today. Newtown, CT is about an hour from my home. An hour away from where my children were in school, children were taken away from their families by a gunman. This has to stop.
The most recent news is that these were legal guns, owned by the shooter’s mother. That means two things: 1) by our laws, he had the right to own that weapon. 2) I don’t know what was bothering this man, but clearly his response was way past inappropriate. Therefore, by definition, he was crazy. I’d say “mentally ill” but that would make the mentally look bad. No, this is just crazy. It is beyond explanation. Now children are dead.
In the song by the Boomtown Rats, “I don’t like Mondays”, about a shooting like this one 25 years ago, the writer says, “and he can see no reason/’cause there is no reason/what reason do you need/to die ?”. This is beyond senseless. Explanations aren’t going to cut it here, but something needs to change. This can’t go on.
Do we need gun control? Yes. Do we need human control? Yes. Do we need to keep easily accessible guns out of the hands of crazy people? Yes. Do we need to see this kind of thing coming? Yes.
There is nothing about this situation that can be made right…unless we learn from it.
We all have to give something here. I have to assume that this man’s problems are longstanding. If that’s the case, someone should have noticed and sent him to a therapist and probably a psychiatrist. Who might that be? Anybody. Mother, father, girlfriend, boyfriend, best friend, colleague, peer — someone had to notice something.
As a therapist, I need to take seriously the harm people are capable of when they are this far gone.
But I need some place to send them when they are this bad. We need to have beds available and you’d be surprised at how hard those are to come by. Insurance needs to pay for more than 3 days (72 hours is a standard hold, but hospitals don’t always want to ask, and may err because they don’t).
On the other side, maybe we need to ban assault weapons capable of doing this kind of damage, or pistols which can be concealed. I don’t care if we have the “right” to have arms. We have the right to have kids who are safe.
The only ones who shouldn’t have to give in this situation is kids who don’t have weapons, aren’t violent, aren’t likely to be violent — you know, kids in general. And we shouldn’t be in any hurry to make them be anything more than children. We adults will be busy worrying.