I posted this short response (below) to the school massacre in Connecticut on Facebook and it received more traction than any of my other "status updates" this year, so I thought it might be worth reposting here as well:
Friends — as we reflect on the massacre that happened today, let's remember a few things. As my friend Jodie said, "The violence in our society moves far beyond someone being crazy and snapping one day," or as Chris put it, everyone is asking how and not why. This issue is not just about gun control, it's also about severe cuts to mental health resources, systemic violence and more. We want the same things — to do what we can to prevent things like this from happening again — but let's strive to come up with holistic solutions that don't just scapegoat one aspect of this tragedy.
I've been thinking about this a lot over the weekend, reflecting on the ways we talk about different tragedies and some are elevated above others (and particularly the role the media plays in this), gun control and cuts to mental health programs. I watched the President tear up as he talked about the senseless violence, and couldn't help but think that this is the same President who backs drone attacks that have killed over 150 children in Pakistan alone.
I talked to my mom for a long time about how it makes her feel — a teacher in a Massachusetts charter school — and the lack of safety and appreciation for the educators there. Though it wouldn't have impacted this case, last night one of her friends said that people should be charged as an accessory to murder when their guns are taken by others to shoot people. Maybe.
More cuts in mental health-related programs are coming here, and one article about dealing with violent kids with mental health issues has been rapidly circulating online today. While I don't claim to have the solutions, I firmly believe what I wrote a few days ago (above). Meaningful, thoughtful public dialogue on these issues is lacking, and we're all worse off for it. We must take into account the ways that this isn't an isolated incident and must not be convinced there is a simplistic solution.