I usually stay out of politics on this website but every once in the while something pops up that I feel compelled to talk about. This time, the subject is Sandy Hook Elementary School and Adam Lanza.
When it first happened, I had no desire to write about it. I was just a sucker-punched in the gut as the rest of America that innocent children and adults had been gunned down by yet another school shooter.
But as the months went by and more and more of the story emerged, I started to form very definite opinions. When new gun laws were going to be enacted to prevent another Sandy Hook tragedy, I felt a knot form in my stomach.
You can’t be serious. I thought. Gun laws don’t work and to me, it’s obvious what will.
Why Gun Laws Don’t Work to Prevent School Shootings
Unless the government plant to outlaw guns completely, there are going to be more school shootings. Even if guns were outlawed, there would be school stabbings.* Outlaw knives? Then there’ll be a rash of school bludgeonings with baseball bats and other various blunt instruments!
People have been killing each other in interesting and creative ways since the dawn of time.
Stronger gun laws aren’t going to stop that. I hate to be cliché here but guns don’t kill people; people kill people. It’s that simple.
Preventing Another Sandy Hook School Shooting
The key to preventing another Sandy Hook School shooting is education, awareness, and love. I know I sound like a hippy here but…well, I am. I’m also a realist. Stronger gun laws aren’t going to stop school violence because guns aren’t causing the violence.
For months since the school shooting, people have been wondering if Adam Lanza has the developmental disorder, Asperger’s syndrome. As soon as the details about his behavior and inability to communicate with others emerged, it hit me in a very personal way because I knew he had been bullied.
I have the Asperger’s syndrome and I was bullied. Horribly. There are no two ways about it. In middle school, I was literally the most hated child at my school. Even the teachers couldn’t stand me. I was verbally abused, threatened, harassed, hit, and ostracized by all but one or two people brave enough to be seen in my company. I was a black sheep. A pariah. The bad smell in the room.
I was in school in the 1980s and 1990s before Autism and Asperger’s started to become a household name. You were either “normal” or “different”. It was very black and white. I had serious behavioral problems. I talked about the same subject in a monotone for hours. I had boundary issues. I took everything literally. I was incredibly gullible and believed everything I was told. I was so sensitive I cried at the drop of a hat. This just made me a target. I wasn’t a bad, horrible kid. My behavior was just misunderstood.
No, I never ended up taking a gun and shooting anyone at my school but I could have. I was terrified. I lived in a state of constant fear from the moment I walked out the door to walk to the school until the moment I came home. I was also incredibly angry. Constant, non-stop rejection and abuse wears on you, especially when you don’t have the support and protection you need from the adults around you.
This is why you hear about bullied teenagers taking their own lives all the time. This is also why you keep hearing about school shootings. I have no idea what Adam Lanza went through but from what I’ve heard, his situation was pretty horrible.
Does this mean I think he was well within his rights to go to a school and gun down a bunch of first graders and their teachers? No, of course not. I’m not excusing it or condoning it but I am trying to understand it. I don’t want to see Adam Lanza as “evil and horrible and disgusting”. The act he performed was yes, but somewhere inside, there was a young man with a heart, a soul, and a brain. A young man who obviously needed much more help than he was getting.
Bullying, Mental Illness, and Gun Violence
To me, stronger gun laws and armed guards in schools is a backwards way of tackling the problem. If you really want to tackle a problem, any problem, you have to go to its source. This is the same method I’ve applied to my chronic illness. Don’t mask the symptoms, don’t cover up the problem, get to the source.
In the case of school shootings like the one that happened at Sandy Hook, the source of the problem is usually a combination of mental illness (or developmental disorder), bullying, and neglect at home, in the school or both. Children who are “different” still slip through the cracks even today. They get shoved into a corner, get bullied, and finally, medicated in an attempt to make them “fit in” with everyone else.
The first thing the education system absolutely has to do right now is implement an across-the-board program that deals with bullying. Love and acceptance of differences should be taught right alongside math and science class. We’ve gotten away from it in this society. Basic human decency is starting to fly out the window. We’re so disconnected from each other; we’re running out of compassion.
Why Different May Become the New Normal
Neurological differences and mental illnesses are becoming increasingly common. It is estimated that 1 out of every 50 children is somewhere on the autistic spectrum. 1 in 50! That’s staggering.
Every single day we are bombarded by neurotoxins in our food, our air, our water supply, and our vaccines, and it is changing us on a cellular level. Poor diet and vitamin deficiencies are causing a record number of neurological and behavioral disorders.
If you’ve ever wondered why there seems to be a rash of extremely violent acts over the past 30 years, you need look no further than your cupboard, your refrigerator, your dental fillings, and your cosmetics. They’re all loaded with brain-altering toxins! Couple that with a bullied child and a bunch of easily-accessible loaded weapons in your home, and you’ve got a serious recipe for disaster.
Love in the Face of Hate
I’m from Connecticut. I remember very clearly hearing the news about the children as I drove to meet my mother for lunch and it devastated me. All I could think of was those beautiful, innocent little babies cut down way before their time and the brave teachers who gave their lives to protect them. I also felt for Adam Lanza’s mother.
But I always want to know about the shooter. I want to understand the source of the violence, the rage, the pain that would drive a human being to commit such a violent, horrible act. When you go to the source of the problem, you can usually heal it. To me, stricter gun control is like putting a Band-aid on a gushing wound. It just won’t make a difference for very long.
There must be a different approach to education and advocacy for children with any kind of developmental disability or mental illness. If they slip through the cracks, they could easily become so hurt, so neglected, and so angry they either take their own lives or kill someone else. It’s a ticking time bomb and if we can find a way to diffuse the bomb before it explodes, there will be no need for stronger gun laws and armed guards in schools.
There also needs to be a serious look into the way we eat and the toxic cosmetic products we use because it has significance. Food dyes have been proven to cause behavioral problems in children. Aspartame is a potent neurotoxin. Parabens, phthalates, and formaldehyde, which can all be found in just about every shampoo, cleaning product, and air freshener we use, also destroy brain cells.
It’s the perfect storm.
If we want to stop another Sandy Hook shooting from happening we need to get back to basics. We need to eat clean, ban toxins from our home, stop over-medicating our children, and teach them tolerance and love. We need to implement a system in every single school that educates teachers and staff about bullying and works to prevent it.
This has to stop. Gun laws don’t work. Love does. Live it now before it’s your child, your niece, or your nephew that either takes a life or ends up a victim.
*Update 4-9-13 – This freaks me out a bit on account of what I wrote but there has just been a reported mass stabbing at a Texas community college. It just proves my original point but the timing is a bit eerie.
What’s Your Opinion? What Do You Think Will Work to Stop Child Violence? Please Share in the Comments Below.