There is nothing I can say to change the horrors of this mid-December tragedy. While the rest of us are asking why, I can only share my limited insight into mental illness and what I know about suicide and depression.
I personally know a few crazy people (myself included to a degree:). They actually exist in my family, just like most families, really. We have a history of clinical depression, suicides and a very passionate line of mentally-ill people on my mother's and father's side. Thus, without an inkling of chance, my parents came together in holy matrimony. Dad was a Vietnam war veteran (with uundiagnosed PTSD from the war) who would eventually die a painful death via leukemia. Mom was running from her mildly mentally-ill parents at the tender age of 19 whilst in the process of annulling her first marriage to a deployed soldier whom she hardly knew. Of course, Mom and Dad had six kids in seven years and moved them constantly from one end of the west coast to the other. It wasn't a pretty 13 years of marriage. They separated at least three times, fought violently and were in the middle of a nasty custody battle when Dad passed suddenly from internal bleeding. I was a week shy of 12. Though I love and adore both of my parents, I think they each would admit to an imbalance in their minds.
But that's another story for another day. I'd like to focus on my mother. I feel grief for her trials, but struggle to completely forgive her due to the emotional and mental abuse I experienced as a child. Let's just say that she stroked my hair gently on some days, but then called me explicatives of a feminine nature on a regular basis. That's just the mild stuff. Again, I have gone off on a tangent. Let's get back to the present...
Just recently divorced from #6, she does not function in society. While she goes from one person in the family to another, or finds another low-life to take her in, she was recently denied disability due to her mild mental illness from the government. She's 62 and does not have the ability to work. She's lived with most of her five living children, but this is difficult as you can imagine. Besides the financial burden, life is impossible when she's in your home. For example, besides opening mail and such, she uses the word "retard", makes fun of fat people in front on my children and makes snide comments about everything they do. I know the commandment to honor thy Father and Mother, but this is no cake walk for me...
Where do people like her (or even worse cases) exist in this world? What scares me is that this was the very same case for 20-year old Adam Lanza. I am certain he was a young, bona-fide psycho, and mad as hell about it. He likely showed signs of mental-illness and had a history of dark tendencies. While he should have been under the constant care of a doctor in some peaceful facility, he was left to fend for himself alone under the care of a mother who likely had her own problems to battle.
Now there is an entire classroom gone, and a lineup of heroes who will not be influencing and teaching the future leaders of America.
Another part of this troubles me: the broken home of the shooter. I know that broken homes are common today more than ever, but why have we not improved in our methods in this area as a society? Adam was a product of divorce and appears to have had little to no bond with his estranged father who lived in another town with a new wife. While his older brother appeared successful, I am sure there were many holes in their relationship as well. None of this is anyone's fault, but where do loners without a friend or a role in society go, especially young boys? I see the gaping holes in these young men's hearts without a model to follow. As a teacher, it is all too easy to see the ones without a father or at least a loving father, in their lives.
I am just as much baffled as I am angry. Just because you are a loner without anyone to learn from doesn't excuse the behavior. We all have the innate sense to learn from the mistakes of our parents and make ourselves better, not worse. Broken or not, this young man made a premeditated choice to kill and kill hundreds. I wonder what he did with his free time. The parent and teacher in me thinks he had a fascination with guns and violent video games and /or television programs.
While I feel a great amount of sorrow for the 27 lives taken (not counting the killer), I feel greater sorrow for his mother, father and family (whether they survived or not). Imagine waking up one morning and owning the fact that you are the parent or relative to a mass murderer/suicide.
The whole thing makes me sick. But its the kind of horrendous sickness that will not go away under the less than watchful eyes of our current administration. This cancer in our society will continue without proper treatment. As it stands, I do not want their free healthcare or their bailouts. I want a solution and I want to feel like I'm sending my children to schools where it's at least safe. While security is part of the discussion, who will cover the costs when their is little focus on education or security? What most people fail to comprehend is that schools are basically non-profit with barely enough funds to pay the teachers, produce adequate supplies and keep the utilities on. What's more, this school involved in the shooting actually had more security than most. As a fellow teacher, I am concerned about our schools, the destruction of the family unit and our society. The security of the soul in a loving home should be the greatest concern.
My heart has been wrenched, ripped out and thrown on the floor. I feel guilty that I get to hug my four children this Christmas season while 20 other sets of parents do not. God Bless them and the families who lost a teacher or staff member at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. America is mourning and praying for you and with you.
In the end, we must focus on the hope this tragedy provides. Several teachers and administrators took action and saved lives. One child even found some unknown survival skill and played dead. While she is alone and leaves a classroom behind, she is the one innocent life that brings just a touch of peace and warmth order back into our damaged, bitter hearts.