By Gretchen Fleming, JD, MS
Director, Center for Law & Justice,
Chair of Legal Studies, Co-Chair of Criminal Justice, Chancellor University
As we mourn for the families and the community surrounding the tragic Sandy Hook shooting, I find that I am at a loss for words, and those who know me know that this in and of itself an anomaly. I was asked to create a blog regarding this shooting. As a mother of five children, three of which are kindergarten age, I cannot even think about Friday's events without tears and terror. I feel for those families, I praise those teachers, and I beg society to see this as a call for help.
As an educator, I wonder where are we going wrong (although I suspect I know the answer)? Where is the simple respect and value for human life that our forefathers envisioned in the Constitution? The Declaration of Independence speaks in terms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and our Constitution works to enforce those values - when did we stop protecting that? So many in Washington are viewing this tragedy as an opportunity to call for action for arms control - the guns did not kill those children and teachers, a disturbed young man did with a weapon as a tool. I don't want to debate gun control; my point instead is that we have become a society of blame rather than one of accountability. Taking ownership for our actions is not what we are being taught and certainly not what our role models in Washington are demonstrating. As a society, we blame all of our woes on someone else, from the President, down to the banks and their buy-outs, to Adam Lanza. Instead of blaming the gun look at what would drive a young man to go into an elementary school with such hatred in his heart.
We seem to have a generation of parentless children. So many parents treat their children as friends. Children need parents to help them find their way. They need guidance and support. We need to look at the mass school shootings of the last 10 years and ask ourselves what is really going to help children succeed. Research time and time again demonstrates that children live up to teacher and parental expectation - use that power and challenge a child! If you don't have one take a few minutes and mentor a child, reach out and help! During this time of mourning take action, challenge yourself to volunteer at a library, or your alma mater. There are always children and college students in need of guidance. What do you have to give?
Sometime in the last 25 years we decided as a society that we need to protect children's feelings and make them feel good. I agree, but that does not mean we do not hold them accountable and it does not mean we pass them through regardless of skill. Instead, take the extra time, nurture, and develop skills, build self-confidence through actual competence and not celebrate mediocrity. We are a highly educated country that must see that we are not doing these kids any favors. Instead they are frustrated because they can't survive in a demanding world where everything is not done for them. We need to be real and show we care by giving guidance and support and raising the bar of expectations.
Thank you for taking the time to write down your thoughts. I'm sure it would have been much easier for you to try to keep from thinking about this horrible event, instead of making the effort to make some sense of it and contemplate what society must do to prevent its recurrence.
December 17, 2012 aP 8:47 PM
Anthony S Bates PhD Candidate of Applied Management & Decision Science
While conducting literary research today this quote is a great SUM surrounding tragedy's with guns: >>There is a saying that we should leave a better country to our children. But it's more important to leave better children to our country.<< ---Carlos Slim, world's wealthiest man (In Auerswald's: The Coming Prosperity)
December 17, 2012 aP 10:13 PM
'Meet The Press' host David Gregory said that no pro-gun rights senators would agree to go on the show on Sunday.
"Face the Nation" invited on politicians who oppose gun control, including representatives from the NRA, but they declined the program's requests.
December 19, 2012 aA 12:24 AM
DR.GLOVER ROSTON SR
I AM TRULY HEART BROKEN, ABOUT THE KILLING OF CHILDREN ANY WHERE IN THE WORLD...AS A VIETNAM COMBAT VETERAN, TWO TOURS...IT EFFECTS ME DEEPLY..SO MANY CHILDREN WERE KILLED BY OUR HANDS...BUT THIS WAS WAR!.HOMETOWN AMERICA IS SUPPOSE TO BE THE SAFE PLACE...AS A RETIRED PRIVATE POLICEMAN..THE GUN CAN DO NOTHING WITHOUT THE SHOOTER....TAKE AWAY THE RIGHT TO KEEP AND BARE ARMS..AND LOTS OF LIVES WILL BE IN DANGER...FOR THE BAD GUY WILL FIND A WAY AND PLACE TO GET GUNS..THEY ARE STILL SOLD ON THE BLACK MARKET FROM OTHER COUNTRIES...MENTAL HEALTH YES THATS ANOTHER ANSWER..BUT WHO ALL NEEDS IT?..MORE SCHOOL SECURITY, MAYBE ARMED OFFICERS IN THE SCHOOLS, SOMETHING TO LOOK AT...AS A HUNTER, GUNS ARE A SO-REAL PART OF MY LIFE STYLE...AND MILLIONS MORE LIKE ME ACROSS AMERICA....JUST MY THOUGHTS..I HAVE NO REAL ANSWER..BUT GOD KNOWS...YES HE KNOWS....
December 21, 2012 aP 10:10 PM
I must say this blog brought tears to my eyes. I totally agree with you about gun control. I have two youngs boys, one in kindergarten and one in first grade. This tragedy really hit home. I am a gun owner. My husband and I are teaching our children about gun safety. We let them know a gun is not a toy. We do not make the guns into taboo. If you have guns in a home they need to be secure and the children need to be educated about proper gun safety. I agree with what you said, it is the parents responsibility to educate our children, not the Government or the school.
December 28, 2012 aP 11:36 PM