Thursday, December 20, 2012

For Shame

Hi all, Wander here. I waited to weigh in on the massacres happening in our country…Sandy hook, and a bit closer to home, the shooting at the Clackamas Town Center six miles from my home…out of respect for the dead, and the living.
Our country is way too reactionary! Shame on you! The bodies weren’t even cold yet and our country spun off into the argument. Everyone just waiting for the chance to spew their opinion about Guns, or Mental health, or NRA, or any number of reactionary responses.  
As the Hindenburg crashed in a flaming inferno the man on the radio, Herbert “Herb” Morrison, wasn’t screaming about the political ramifications of the explosion, he was crying, and made one of the most famous quotes of all times, “Oh the humanity” because he had just witnessed 36 humans die in a flaming inferno.  
January 28th 1986 my mom decided to let us stay home to watch the shuttle take off, the Challenger. As we sat there excitedly watching it go up and up and up we had no concept of what was to happen. 73 seconds after liftoff, thousands and thousands of feet above terra firma it exploded. My sister my mom and I lay on the chase lounge and balled. At school they had brought tv’s into the classes to let the students watch. Within moments our phone was ringing, to tell us there would be no school that day or the next, or the next. From what I remember our country shut down.
Not once in that week did I hear my mom talk about the fact that it was NASA’s fault…or those liberals, or government, or fault. What I did hear was how tragic it was; how the lives of those human beings were cut short. That response left an impression on me.
Flash forward twenty two years and twenty six humans were massacred in a school, twenty of them children gunned down before they had the chance to even live; twenty six precious lives cut down, oh the humanity! I cry as I write this, because I have two small children, I have friends, and I have family members that could have the very same thing happen to them. And because they, the dead, deserve my tears for they are of us.
Our country is too reactionary, I say this because the first I heard of this tragedy was an argument on Facebook about weather guns should be banned. The people arguing didn’t even know the names of the dead, or how many…but oh they knew it was their chance to share their opinion…for shame! Twenty six humans were slain and all they cared about was their opinion, for shame!
There are many factors that go into these slayings, Gun laws, lack of mental health funding, the media’s need to sensationalize everything, and our response as a nation. Rather than arguing about cause and effect first, then showing mourning second, we should pull together and show respect for the dead, and then with rational minds work together to ease the primers for tragedies like this.
 Oh the humanity, twenty six were slain in PA, and two in OR, and I grieve.

Rest in peace
- Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
- Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
- Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
- Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
- Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
- Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
- Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
- Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
- Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
- Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
- Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
- Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
- James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
- Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
- Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
- Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
- Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
- Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
- Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
- Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
- Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
- Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
- Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
- Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
- Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
- Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

Steven Forsyth
Cindy Ann Yuille

Chris McQueeney    12/20/12    1:39PM

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Dreaded Political Post

I think there’s a moment in grieving when action and solutions become our focus. We want to honor the dead but also prevent the same tragedies from occurring again. Seeing twenty children and their teachers killed, I ask why. It’s a complicated answer. The federal assault weapons ban would have covered the gun used. A better mental health system would have been more effective in reaching out to the severely troubled killer. These are two problems. The how is fixing them.

Do we reinstate the federal assault weapons ban and cut back on extended magazines? It would not stop a determined individual but it would lessen their capacity to inflict harm. This tragedy made me see the value of this argument. Children cannot own guns to protect themselves from other guns. Short of giving them pistols, we have to ensure their safety. We do this by vigilance, security and laws. If you see a troubled individual, reach out and help them get the care they need. But, also keep an eye out. People do not always seek help - they may be afraid or simply do not care. Laws as well must be a factor; giving potentially unstable people access to ammunition and assault weapons with extended magazines needs curtailed by better background checks. Also, restrictions are important. People have a right to defend themselves, hunt and use guns for sport, but the power of the weapons legal today are far beyond that. We need common sense and responsible people. Guns are dangerous and perhaps should be more thoroughly licensed. I cannot drive a car without passing a test and continuing to submit to eye exams and photo IDs; why should I have access to another dangerous machine more easily? Liability insurance as well could play an important role. If you own a gun, damage inflicted will be paid for through your monthly premium.

I also fear what we might become defending the right to own assault weapons.  Do we make schools into fortresses with armed guards and metal detectors?  Is the right worth the lives of so many children and adults?  People can easily defend themselves with less powerful guns. And children may be spared the harsh realities they must grow into.

These are merely thoughts. I do not intend to use this horrible tragedy for political gain. I only want to never see it happen it again. Grieving for me is finding answers. Parents should never be told their children were murdered in a senseless act of violence we could have prevented. They should never be told at all, for that matter.