I've spent the weekend thinking about what happened on Friday, reading a lot of what has been posted, taking into consideration the sources. I've also gone back to sources that I absolutely trust and respect. I've tried to tune out the rhetoric - and Lord knows there's a lot of it out there right now.
My heart is breaking for the families, friends and community of Conneticut. It's a terrible tragedy that can't easily be solved.
From the antis, we're hearing, "Ban Guns!"
From the pro-gunners, we're hearing, "Arm Teachers!"
For what seems like the first time ever (or at least since I've been a shooter), the antis and the pros agree on one thing: Mental Health availability needs an overhaul. (Now, if we could just get the politicians to effing listen to us!)
Teachers, neighbors, even parents (who aren't in denial) are able to pick out children who are going to be a problem. Not "oh, little Johnny's a handful" problem, but "oh, this kid's going to grow up to be a mass-murderer" problem. However, even if those children are identified, there is nothing as teachers that can be done about it. Parents have no resources to help them.
Fifty years ago, when children like this were identified, they were institutionalized. However, in our kinder, gentler society we want to do everything we can for our children, which I completely understand, having three of my own. But there are some members of our society - juveniles - who are just "wrong" and "dangerous". As a society we acknowledge them, sort of. Otherwise there wouldn't be the TV show "Killer Kids" on Biography, or "Kids Who Kill" on the Crime and Investigation (History) channel.
On one hand, we're fascinated by them and say, "wow, I'm so glad my kids aren't like that!". On the other hand, how many people actually think, "oh shit, we need to do something!"?
Until we figure out what to do with the kids who are identified as dangerous, and start offering support to the families who are trying to deal with these children on their own, nothing is going to change.
You can take guns away from law-abiding citizens (hypothetically, let's not get crazy here).
You can arm teachers.
But until we address the root of the problem, we're not going to see any change. We're still going to have mass killings.
If it means locking up dangerous children, then by God, DO IT! This namby-pamby, touchy-feely stuff is killing innocent children. I know people are afraid of locking up a child who might not be dangerous, but, honestly, I'd rather take that chance than have to see another massacre like we had Friday.
Even if we don't go so far as institutionalizing dangerous children, we need to have resources available for teachers and parents. Something other than a patronizing pat on the head by the mental health professionals and a script for yet another medication.