How do I begin . . . well, first I want to say I thought about keeping my opinions about the recent tragic events in Connecticut to myself. I let a day or so pass, and decided that it's important to talk about it here, even briefly. Heartbreaking is the word of choice for how most people feel about the loss of so many innocent children as well as adults who dedicated their lives to teaching. I first heard about what had happened when I turned on my car radio after my afternoon at work. I work part time as an educational assistant in a k-8 school here in Winnipeg. At first, I thought the broadcast was talking about a past school shooting, but quickly realized what had happened that morning. I felt crushed. I'm sure you felt that same horrified feeling. Complete disbelief. Almost instantaneous feelings of empathy from parent to parent, teacher to teacher, human to human. I dropped my son off at school this morning. Did I kiss him goodbye? What were my last words to him? What if those were my very last words? And at work today, what would I have done to save the lives of the children under my care? What could I have done with such an insurmountable obstacle as this? I could imagine the children I know and love in utter terror and I only realize a tiny fraction of what Friday morning brought to the lives of everyone involved in this assault. How could a parent heal? How could a husband or wife heal?
Then, this feeling. Anger. Frustration. Disbelief that the same scenario has happened again. So when the stream of prayers, lit candles, and messages to hug your own living children begin to pour out over the internet and airwaves, I wonder what exactly is this action going to do to comfort the mourning victims of this event? Didn't we all hug our children the LAST time guns found their way into the hands of mentally ill assassins? The fear drove many schools to lock up their doors, bar their windows, install metal detectors, cameras and secure the entryways. Lock up the children from the danger of the outside world, where men and woman of all kinds have easy access to firearms and ammunition. Did locking out the threat help? No. Of course it didn't and it never will. It's time for a real change.
In Canada, we are fortunate to have very strict gun control legislation which drastically reduces the type and amount of firearms available to the general public. There is no question in my mind about how this benefits the peace and security of our citizenship. Yes, bad people will find a way to do bad things, but give yourself a fighting chance to stop them! Unless every man, woman and child in the United States wants to bear arms every single day, to the coffee shop, to the grocery store, to work and school in order to level the playing field of the person beside them, lay them down. Lay them down!
Last year guns killed
48 people in Japan
8 in Great Britain
34 in Switzerland
52 in Canada
58 in Israel
21 in Sweden
42 in West Germany
10,728 in the United States of America
So, hug your children extra and light a candle, or say a prayer if it makes you feel better but don't stop there. Take immediate action with lasting conviction! Lobby your government for gun control legislation. Take the guns out of the hands of would be murderers. Hear people talking on twitter by following the #todayistheday hash-tag, sign petitions and rally for change NOW!
I know I'm probably preaching to the choir on this one, but I feel very passionate about the health and well being of my American friends who I love dearly. Although there isn't much I can do as an onlooker from the north, I wanted to use what platform I have here on the Lune blog to encourage every reader to stand up and have their voices heard by the country they love and call home. I know change can be made for the better in the beautiful and strong USA. My love goes out to you. Be strong and fight for your right to live out in the open, and unafraid of your fellow countryman.
peace and love . Jill
peace and love . Jill