Sunday, December 16, 2012

About Newtown

I have lots of thoughts, and most of them have been said by other people, and not all of them are cohesive — some of them outright conflict.

Here are some of the ones I haven't seen expressed as much other places, or that relate more directly to me and my perspective, right now. This will not be the cleverest post I've ever written. Like many of you, I'm just overwhelmed.

  • "Mentally ill" and "violent" are not synonyms. Seriously. Also, "autistic" and "violent" are for real not synonyms.
  • Nancy Lanza's mother, Adam Lanza's grandmother, was my school nurse when I was a kid. Connections are funny things, and they are everywhere. Adam was born in the town I grew up in.
  • The Westboro Baptist "Church" plans to protest the memorial service today and the funerals this week. I plan to try to be part of the human barricade that shields mourners from those protests. 
  • Remember when Fred Phelps was a good-guy civil rights lawyer? I don't, but I'm told that was a thing. People are sure complicated. 
  • No good comes of blaming a victim for legally owning firearms, any more than would come of blaming her for wearing a short skirt or walking alone at night.
  • "Access to mental health services" may be part of the discussion going forward, but it is not the only discussion. I have availed myself of an assortment of mental health services over 30 years, and I am lucky not to (yet) be someone who has been actively made worse by what that particular industry has to offer. Many people do not get off so easy. 
  • If you can, check information before you share it. There is so much weird rumor and speculation out there, and some of it is the fault of major media outlets, and a lot of it is because of the ease of sharing through social media outlets. 
  • In a mass murder with unconnected victims, after the initial shock, the victims' families and friends continue to mourn singly. In a mass murder at a school, there will be constant reminders going forward: In planning class sizes and hiring teachers, in graduations, in safety badges for scout troops, in the ways that whole groups of children will process through their whole school careers, and their lives in that town beyond school.
  • I am not sure being generally kinder to the people around us, both those we love and those we don't, will prevent bad things from happening. But I have to believe in my heart that it will help us all cope when bad things do happen.
  • I am not sure of that, either.
  • There has to be some point of balance between talking about something this overwhelming and not talking about it. I have no idea what that point is, or how to find it. Let me know if you fare better.
Please, feel free to share your thoughts and feelings here and come back to engage the discussion. Disagreement with me or others is permitted and encouraged. Incivility will be deleted.


Joe said...

Well said, CMC. I really have nothing to add. Still can't believe something so awful could take place. Not being naive, just scratching my head.
Peace and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

S said...

What I have to add:
- Entitlement exists and can kill people. And it usually is white guys who do this type of crime.
- Autistic people do not lack empathy, it's harder for us to recognize facial expressions and body language.
- Saying disabled people should be listed on registry is not ever okay.
-Or that in my day all disturbed people would be institutionalized. Especially around disabled people. Who you are related too.