On this fifth anniversary of the Sandy Hook School Shooting I offer an apology to the parents and family members still dealing with the aftermath of this horrific crime. As a mother who has lost two of her own adult children to horrific diseases, I suggest that as we remember that awful day, let’s not forget that these elementary school children were shot by a man suffering from a mental illness that caused him to shoot and kill his own mother shortly before he arrived at the school.
As we hold divisive arguments about our national budget, tax reform, and funding of health care, let us ask – as the Sandy Hook parents are asking us to consider – might tragedies like these be prevented if we, as a nation more adequately funded treatment for people suffering with mental illness, outlawed possession of assault weapons for anyone not currently serving in the military, and passed regulations that kept guns of any type out of the hands of people not of sound enough mind to use them responsibly?
Since there have already been other school shootings, here’s the truth not often spelled out. I need you to help me protect my grandchildren and you need me. We are in this together. My adult children died too young in part because we as a nation had failed to fund research to treat diseases like AIDS and Cancer. Our society’s lack of taking serious threats of domestic violence resulted last night in the death of a woman at the hands of her husband before he shot himself on a college campus near where I live. And these scenarios are likely happening in your family and community as well.
As an expert on grief and a mother who has buried two of my own adult children I am inspired by the Sandy Hook Promise and the dedication of these parents to accept their co-destiny with their children, to have their life’s work and their children’s legacy be the prevention of such tragedies in other communities. I add my voice to their call to action and to their graceful and resilient response to what is definitely a national tragedy.