Sandy Hook Elementary Tragedy Devastated Teachers Across Ontario

ProbabAdam_lanza_sandy_hook_shooterly across Canada too.  We sat around the lunch table in our staffroom and talked about the poor young man (clearly mentally disturbed with many tragic issues) who murdered these precious children and teachers, then killed himself.  No one judged Adam Lanza.  (In this clip the newsreporters erroneously finger Adam’s brother Ryan as the shooter. Ryan was arrested due to the error and he and his father, Peter Lanza, have since gone into hiding due to death threats. Finger pointing never solves anything and since the massacre is over and done with, it would be entirely moot. We only thought of the beautiful little children who senselessly died on one of the worst days in public schools in North American history.  (Clearly there is a history of many others.  Read School Shootings are Old News in America).  I watched the beautiful tribute on The Voice and broke down and wept. I hate crying. I have to be very distraught or moved to cry:  it’s embarrassing, but so long as no one catches me, I’m okay. Anyway.

Being teachers in an elementary school left everyone particularly shaken. We were united in our grief for this school and its child01_05_09_specialren.  We felt as if we had been there and suffered along with the people of Sandy Hook. One of our teachers received a beautiful tribute (a text) about Sandy Hook that was put to a Christmas Carol (since this occurred 2 weeks before).  I can’t remember the exact words.  I only know that it discussed Jesus arriving at the school to take the little children with him, promising them to look after Mom and Dad (whoever wrote this was either American or a brave Ontario teacher, since we aren’t allowed to use the words Jesus or Christmas here anymore…they’re prejudiced and bigoted words in Canada, you know).  The tribute was something that went around the internet, but of course, I can’t seem to locate it.

There have been a few awful school murders in Canada by gunmen (never seems to be a gunwoman, interestingly, but that is another blog for another day). However I am happy to say that school massacres are very, very rare in our history.  I’m not referring to a school attack. A schoolr437160_2103070 attack refers to bringing a gun to a school to shoot one or two people, not on a mass scale, and often with a specific person (usually an educator) in mind. I mean a full-out massacre.  This seems to be a trend in the U.S. of A. lately.  Obama stated he has had to address the nation about these tragedies too many times while in office.  Sucks to be you, Obama.  Now why not do something about it? Gun laws may operate at a state level but clearly a number of states are unsuccessful at enforcing their own gun laws, which would suggest that it’s time for the feds to take over. Do we have angry, mentally ill people who would probably love to wipe out teachers and kids?  Damn right we do.  Everyone does, because in every community you’re going to have a mix of people with their own perspectives, experiences, issues, and illnesses.  That’s a community, like it or not. Do these people manage to cause a plethora of school massacres in Canada?  Thank (god – shhhh) no and that’s because WE DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS.  Oops.  Didn’t mean to shout.  In fact no one, including Americans, has the right to bear arms, ( unless you live in Afghanistan, I should imagine). Americans have proven via school and college gun massacres that it cannot handle the responsiblity of gun ownership.  When you have the right to bear arms, you also have the responsibility of using those arms to save life, not destroy it, but I would argue that this is not the case as of late.

Schools are talking about implementing armed guards in elementary schools.  Armed guards.  Is that really the answer?  More guns?  More people with the opportunity (and in this case the right) to kill?  Sgun5eriously?  That’s worse than not having armed guards in elementary schools.  Where does it end?  If a gunman shows up with an AK-47 does that mean American elementary schools should arm their security with AK-47s? What if they miss and accidentally hit a kid? Damn.  That’s frightening. Now changing gun laws and taking guns out of people’s hands or at least controlling access to them on a far more rigid scale isn’t the sole solution.  This issue is far more complex than that.  However, I can suggest a reasonable approach to discourage the use of firearms (along with instilling stricter gun control laws):

  1. Schools teach anti-bullying programs: teach anti-gun mentality alongside it
  2. Public education needs be taught through all types of media
  3. Ban video games and that X-Box stuff that kids love that have excessive violence, especially that with guns and armaments
  4. Ban musicthat is loaded with racist, vulgar words and references to guns.  Check that link then consider this: Ice T plays detective Odafin Tutuola on Law and Order: SVU…..a cop-friendly show, and of course also featuring lots of gun use. Say what??
  5. Ban made for tv movies and sitcoms that feature murder using guns.  I had some time on my hands on Saturday afternoon so I flicked on the tube and watched a couple of rather monotonous movies back to back.  One of them featured two mentally ill people, a man and a woman,  both of whom shot at least one person to death before themselves being shot and killed. This was casual, daytime television.
  6. Make access to guns a lot more difficult than walking into a bank and being passed a rifle by a teller after opening a specific type of bank account – I suppose that would go under stricter gun control, but it’s an example of what I mean
  7. Eliminate gun shows. 40 miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, one month after the massacre, a gun sho was held in Stamford, Conn. Jonathan O’Connor, store manager of Gun Envy in Minnesota claimed, “we sold 50-some rifles in days.” Mazel tov.
  8. Vote Harry Reid
  9. Sign and start petitions for stronger gun laws or banning guns altogether
  10. Address mental illness in a proactive, rather than reactive manner, before tragedy happens
  11. Educate teachers to identify symptoms of mental illness and aggressive disorders.
  12. Assist families in raising healthy, functional children – Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy, was a gun fanatic and often took her sons to a local gun range. She was aware that her son had many emotional problems, but she still brought him along and taught him how to shoot. He showed his gratitude by shooting her. Oops.

Yes many of these suggestions are extremely idealistic. We know this from the many dysfunctional families and individuals in our communities. None of these suggestions will work alone (and some may never work). I’m merely brainstorming to demonstrate examples. These are the type of moves that all need to be enacted one by one, or simultaneously, in order to prove effective.  An approach that is widespread across various media and public rights is known to succeed for some issues. For instance, in Ontario several anti-smoking laws and  campaigns were instilled to discourage people from smoking. One example ifreuds that people aren’t allowed to smoke on commercial or public property: if you visit a movie theatre to see a movie and need a smoke break you must leave the property or you will be fined $1,000.00. Sounds weird, but it worked. The government’s commitment to reducing tobacco consumption by 20 per cent occurred between 2003 and 2006: there was a 31.8 per cent decline in tobacco consumption indicated that approximately 4.6 billion fewer cigarettes were sold. (Can’t help but notice the phallic shape of guns and cigarettes – if Freud were here, well, perhaps he would say sometimes a cigar is just a cigar“). In our case, the idea was to reduce government spending on hospitalization for people who develop lung cancer (and other cancers and diseases in relation to smoking). In America’s case, gun control might reduce the clientele in morgues.

There are people who  disagree that gun elimination or control is the answer or the issue. The argument is thus:

  1. it is not guns that guide a criminal’s behaviour but churches, schools, and families – these go into molding character more than gun laws.
  2. it is not the guns that cause the violence but it is indicative of a deeper problem inside the society.

I agree that it is issues within a person (noted above) that lead to violent behaviour. A gun itself doesn’t walk to a local elementary school and shoot children.  The gun is an inanimate object, however I cannot say that guns have nothing to do with that.  If the guns aren’t accessible, then the massacres cannot happen, regardless of the individual’s state of mind. As to that state of mind, some forensic psychologists refer to a gun massacre as suicide with hostile intent . Homicidal perpetrators were found to have suicidal behavior such as thoughts, plans, or attempts. Suicidal intent was found in most cases for which there was detailed information on the assailants. Evidence indicates that student homicide perpetrators:

  1. were twice as likely to have been  bullied by their peers
  2.  were described as loners
  3. poorly integrated into school activities

Therefore, reasons of revenge might have moved the perpetrator to kill. In a detailed case scenario inquiry, obtaining justice against peers or adults was the principal stated motive by perpetrators, who were often angry about being teased or ridiculed and were looking for revenge agTIMOTHY MCVEIGHainst specific individuals or groups.Revenge wasn’t acted upon impulsively: there was a well-organized plan. In fact, some psychiatrists believe that teenagers who commit shooting massacres have been preparing for the tragedy for most of their lives. Suicide by revenge is considered by current anthropological and ethnological studies as being stimulated by culturally approved rules that should earn the suicidal actor the support of the community in his or her efforts to obtain compensation for the suffered wrongs. Timothy McVeigh, although not a school spree shooter, envisioned accolades for the Oklahoma Bombing. McVeigh, a militia movement sympathizer, sought revenge against the federal government for its handling of the Waco Siege. McVeigh hoped to inspire a revolt against what he considered to be a tyrannical federal government. His delusional thinking led him to believe he would be lauded as a hero for his bravery and his actions. (I can’t help but notice the similar expression on Lanza and McVeigh’s faces).

I have to incharrylude a quote from the Gun Owners of America (GOA) site in regard to Harry Reid and his effort to annihilate the Second Amendment to the American Constitution: Changes in the Senate rules would allow them to ban guns with a mere 50 Senate votes. This proposal is particularly insidious.  Gun grabbers are not going to be able to get 60 votes to break a Senate filibuster of gun control.  But, with the help of fake “pro-gun” Senate Democrats, they may be able to get 50. I love the expression gun grabbers….seriously. Personally I wouldn’t dare grab someone’s gun in case it went off and killed me.  Insidious?  Personally I consider shooting and killing elementary school children to be insidious. This type of gun fanaticism doesn’t exist here.  I pray (not publicly, or I’m in trouble) it never does.

People love to laugh at Canadians. They love to suggest that we are incapable of doing harm to one another. Do I think Canada would behave any better if we had the right to bear arms?  Nope.  Canadian, Police_at_Sandy_HookAmerican, Mexican, Ethiopian, Martian. Some people with limitless gun access and flexible gun laws are time bombs waiting to explode. Had these very disturbed people not had easy access to guns, perhaps their rage wouldn’t have proven fatal, at least not on such a large scale and not against innocent little children who have never done anything worse than experiment with the f-word, fight with friends, and maybe pull wings off of flies.  Interesting analogy.  If pulling the wings off a fly is at all analogous with taking guns away from Americans, let’s do it.  Let’s be cruel to be kind (in the latter case), nix the security guards, and in so doing, eliminate the need for them in the first place. Oh, and vote Harry Reid….and toss one in for me would ya?  My vote doesn’t count for much up here but I’m sure it counts a lot in the Sandy Hook community.

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