Monday, December 17, 2012

Mental Illness Manifested

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT on Friday, December 14, 2012 is beyond horrific. We can reach for words, look in the dictionary and check the thesaurus but in my opinion no current words exist that fully describe what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. How could there be?

Yes, I understand that this type of horror, the murder of young children occur every day all over the world but not here in America, not like what happened at Sandy Hook. Yes, we have had school shootings, movie theater shootings, shootings at dining establishments like the Luby’s massacre in Killeen, TX in 1991 but not like Sandy Hook on Friday, December 14th in Newtown, CT where a broken mentally disturbed creature, murdered twenty first graders and the six teachers and administrators who tried to protect them, in their school classrooms in their bucolic, Peyton Place-like town in Northern Connecticut. Something about Sandy Hook is earth shattering. And I hope this shattering of our perceived idea of safety and right and wrong makes a difference this time.

We as a society are in agreement on the level of dreadfulness that happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but I fear that if nothing is done, if no changes are made legislatively we will still agree on the horror at Sandy Hook but, we will slide back into our regular lives and thoughts until the next awful event. And rest assured there will be something worse the next time if nothing is done.

And let’s not forget the part that mental illness played in this latest tragedy and all the previous shootings. Let us as a society stop acting like mental illness happens to someone else. Let us stop ignoring those who are peculiar, bizarre, odd, painfully shy, weird, eccentric, and any other adjective we use to cloak what we are afraid to say out-loud: mentally ill. I think there is a general belief that once someone is mentally ill they are damaged forever and can never to be salvaged, and in believing some people are irreparably damaged, we ignore, disregard and ostracize them, which only leads to tragedy for the mentally ill individual specifically and society at large.

We used to treat cancer patients the same way. Not so long ago people used to whisper that so and so had the big C and then isolate those people. Luckily our government declared a war on cancer which helped in eliminating the stigma of the disease. So let’s declare a war on mental illness! Let’s eliminate the stigma of being mentally ill. Let’s take care of the mentally broken and ill.

Let’s live up to the Preamble to the US Constitution: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Let’s do what we do: mobilize and act! There should be no debate over the need to do something; the only debate should be over the methodology.

Let us do what those teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook did some more successfully than others, let us protect the children, our citizens and ourselves!

Let us as a nation DO SOMETHING!

‎"If you have one hundred people who live together and if each one cares for the rest, there is One Mind." ~Crow Saying


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