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Sandy Hook, Newtown shootings, Adam Lanza

Saturday was the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre. I was backstage, watching from stage left as my daughters performed their final show. I wanted to be in as close proximity to my girls as possible. I half expected some deviant, somewhere to decide to commemorate the anniversary with his or her own massacre. This is who I have become since December 14, 2012. I am afraid and I can’t shake it. Sandy Hook changed my life. Saturday, my heart was heavy for the mothers and fathers of Sandy Hook. The air was so thick I could barely breathe.

In our world, shootings happen frequently, so much so that it is no longer shocking. A crazed gun man walks into a post office, a disgruntled employee walks into his place of business, a religious zealot walks into a church, a long gunman walks into a mall or a theater, a jilted lover walks into a house…this happens all over the place, all the time but Sandy Hook was different it hit many of us where we live. Adam Lanza made us all feel vulnerable in a place where we already walk around like an open wound to the world; our children. He stole the one place we felt comfortable and safe leaving our children away from us; school.

Every morning when I drop my girls off at school, I am afraid that it might be the last time that I ever see them. Every time I hear a siren, I call the school to make sure everything is all right. If the girls are in a bad mood in the morning and we argue, I always rectify it before dropping them at school. I always hug them goodbye and I always tell them that I love them because I am terrified that something might happen and it might be the last time that we see one another and I don’t want my last words to them to be mean ones. The events that transpired that cold Friday morning at Sandy Hook Elementary did that to me. I know life goes on but my trust in the world has been broken and I am not sure that it can ever be mended.

For the rest of my life, my heart will stop when I hear a siren if my children are not in my line of sight. For the rest of my life, I will watch my children until they are all the way in the building. For the rest of my life, I will remember that my children are the most precious gift that life has given me and I will not take them for granted. For the rest of my life, I will not trust the world to protect our children. That is what Adam Lanza and his shooting spree has done to our world.

Children are not disposable. Human beings are not replaceable. No one needs a gun. Gun violence needs to stop and we need to prevent something like Sandy Hook from ever happening again.No parent should ever have to wonder if this is the last time they will see their child alive at morning drop off. We should not have to live our lives in fear. If you believe that the right to bear arms is more important that the lives of 26 people than we probably can’t be friends. Please pray for peace for the mothers and fathers of the Sandy Hook victims.

How has your perspective on life changed since Sandy Hook?

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Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown Connecticut, Adam Lanza, Mass shooting, gun control

I woke up this morning, then, I remembered what today is the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.  It’s 11 days before Christmas. It’s the third day of Hannukah. It’s also the 5-year anniversary of one of the most heinous mass shootings in the history of America. The day 26 innocent children and adults were brutally murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary.

My girls gleefully squeed this morning when reminding us that TODAY is the day that we adopted our puppy, Lola. She was a Christmas surprise for our girls in 2012 after a particularly hard year; we lost a baby, we lost our family dog and we moved away from everyone we ever knew. But, I know today is something else.

Five years ago today, a man murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. On Dec. 14, 2012, a 20-year-old named Adam Lanza fired his Bushmaster rifle through the school’s locked front door and commenced a killing spree. At the time, it was the second deadliest mass shooting in US history. What seemed to shake the nation the most was the age of the victims, children who were just six and seven years old. On December 14, 2012, my daughters were 5 and 7-years-old. The Sandy Hook events shook me to my core.

Sandy Hook, Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown Connecticut, Adam Lanza, Mass shooting, gun control

Today is December 14th. A day that changed the way I parent forever; a day that changed me. Today, on a morning just like this in the small town of Newtown, Connecticut, parents dropped their children off at Sandy Hook Elementary and kissed them goodbye like I did on that same morning in a sleepy town in Indiana.

You drive off, probably listening to Christmas music with your heart all full of that feeling of positivity and cheer we all feel at this time of year because it’s in the air. People are nicer, friendlier and generally, the world is just slightly better.

I remember dropping our girls off and the Big Guy and I took the day off to finish our Christmas shopping. In fact, we spent most of the day playing with a certain puppy and the rest was spent wistfully having lunch and laughing as we ducked in and out of stores thinking of how happy each this or that would make our daughters on Christmas morning. All the while, we counted ourselves lucky that our children were safe at school.

It wasn’t until the pick-up line that afternoon that we actually heard the horrific news of what happened to those 20 beautiful children and the 6 adults who tried to protect them and my heart broke as all of my faith in humanity drained slowly from my body, as I held it all together at pick-up. It wasn’t until after bedtime that night that I could fully digest the scope of what Adam Lanza did that day.

Lanza then entered a first-grade classroom where Lauren Rousseau, a substitute teacher, had herded her first grade students to the back of the room, and was trying to hide them in a bathroom, when Lanza forced his way into the classroom.[44] Rousseau, Rachel D’Avino (a behavioral therapist who had been employed for a week at the school to work with a special needs student), and fifteen students in Rousseau’s class were all killed. Fourteen of the children were dead at the scene; one injured child was taken to a hospital for treatment, but was later declared dead. Most of the teachers and students were found crowded together in the bathroom. A six-year-old girl, the sole survivor, was found by police in the classroom following the shooting.The surviving girl was hidden in one of the corners of the classroom’s bathroom during the shooting. The girl’s family pastor said that she survived the mass shooting by remaining still, and playing dead. When she reached her mother, she said, “Mommy, I’m okay, but all my friends are dead.” The child described the shooter as “a very angry man.A girl hiding in a bathroom with two teachers told police that she heard a boy in the classroom screaming, “Help me! I don’t want to be here!” to which Lanza responded, “Well, you’re here,” followed by more hammering sounds.

Lanza next went to another first-grade classroom nearby; at this point, there are conflicting reports about the order of events. According to some reports, the classroom’s teacher, Victoria Leigh Soto, had concealed some of the students in a closet or bathroom, and some of the other students were hiding under desks. Soto was walking back to the classroom door to lock it when Lanza entered the classroom. Lanza walked to the back of the classroom, saw the children under the desks, and shot them. First grader Jesse Lewis shouted at his classmates to run for safety, and several of them did. Lewis was looking at Lanza when Lanza fatally shot him. Another account, given by a surviving child’s father, said that Soto had moved the children to the back of the classroom, and that they were seated on the floor when Lanza entered. According to this account, neither Lanza nor any of the occupants of the classroom spoke. Lanza stared at the people on the floor, pointed the gun at a boy seated there, but did not fire at the boy, who ultimately survived. The boy got up and ran out of the classroom and was among the survivors.

Hartford Courant report said that six of the children who escaped did so when Lanza stopped shooting, either because his weapon jammed or he erred in reloading it. Earlier reports said that, as Lanza entered her classroom, Soto told him that the children were in the auditorium. When several of the children came out of their hiding places and tried to run for safety, Lanza fatally shot them. Soto put herself between her students and the shooter, who then fatally shot her. Anne Marie Murphy, the teacher’s aide who worked with special-needs students in Soto’s classroom, was found covering six-year-old Dylan Hockley, who also died. Soto and four children were found dead in the classroom, Soto near the north wall of the room with a set of keys nearby. One child was taken to the hospital, but was pronounced dead. Six surviving children from the class and a school bus driver took refuge at a nearby home. According to the official report released by the state’s attorney, nine children ran from Soto’s classroom and survived, while two children were found by police hiding in a class bathroom.[41]:14 In all, 11 children from Soto’s class survived. Five of Soto’s students were killed.[62]

I was mad. I was devastated for those who lost their lives but even more so for the parents and family members who, just like me, dropped their beloved everythings off at school that morning and that very night sat sobbing with empty arms. It was so unfair and so horrific that I almost couldn’t allow myself to believe it.

I’ve never been one to live my life in fear but that day and every single day since I’m afraid every time my children leave my arms. Every morning I send them to school, I pray God sends them back to me. Every time I hear a siren, I hold my breath and hope it’s not a shooting at their school; that a man with a gun having a bad day doesn’t decide to take his hatred for the world out on my children. His collateral damage will be my complete undoing.

I think often, almost daily, about the parents and children of Sandy Hook. I can’t imagine what the world must look like to them. I don’t know how they’ve survived these past 5 years. I’m assuming with a lump in their throat and a fight in their bellies.

I know they will never get justice because they will never get their tiny loved ones back and each passing year is a reminder of what should have been. I imagine this time of year has lost all of its glisten and glean for those families and in its place moroseness and sorrow has settled in. I wish there was a way to bring their children back to them but I know that is impossible. But what we can do is make their deaths not have been in vain.

We must continue to fight for stricter gun control laws. No one’s right to bear arms should outweigh a parent’s right to hold their child in their arms; to watch them grow up and spend a lifetime loving them.

My husband dropped our girls off at school this morning. I kissed and hugged them all just slightly longer than I should have this morning and I began to pray the moment they walked out the door. Please let them return to me. This is my daily prayer that I say with earnest but even more so on this morning, December 14th because I know there are the parents of 20 children whose hearts are being shattered all over again this morning.

So please, whatever you are doing this morning, wherever you are in the world, whoever you may be, stop and pray for those families who lost their children and those children and brave staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary who went to school on a day just like today, five years ago and never got to come home. Pray that those parents have the strength to continue carrying on and they can someday get some peace.

But don’t just pray, do something. Fight for the safety of our children. Stand up for better mental health coverage and stricter gun control. Make good choices and remember that while you are listening to your Christmas music, doing your last minute shopping at Target and drinking your latte, there’s a mother in Newtown sobbing uncontrollably; there’s a father whose loss has turned to bitterness and he doesn’t know how to fix it; there are a brother and sister who will never get to hear the laugh of their little brother again. There are gifts that never got opened and holiday celebrations that had to be repurposed into funerals.

I’m begging you, if you are weary from all of these mass shootings, tired of innocent children being nothing more than collateral damage to a system that continues to value an outdated right to bear arms over its children and tired of being constantly afraid that your children won’t come home because guns are too readily and easily accessible stand up and fight like your life depends on it ( because it might) for stricter gun control and legislation to regulate the purchase of parts to assemble semi-automatic weapons because even though we do have weak gun control laws in place for purchasing guns, there are none for buying the parts and assembling your own at home. Think about that for a moment and do something.

Whatever you do today, never forget the 26 innocent children and adults who went to school on a day like today and never got to come home because a sick man had easy access to guns and rained down devastation on the world. Hug your children tight.

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sandy hook elementary, adam lanza

sandy hook elementary, adam lanza

Sandy Hook Elementary We pray for you

Will we ever feel safe again sending our kids off to school in the wake of  the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre? Adam Lanza’s assault on our nation’s children has left many of us feeling the way we did post 9/11, defeated, vulnerable and afraid. But this is much worse because this brutal attack was carried out against the most innocent of us all, small children. Victims who were small children just like my daughters who are 5 and 7.

Sandy Hook Elementary is what my nightmares are made of. What every mother’s nightmares are made of really. This morning, it was all I could do to get my girls dressed and take them to school. I wanted to keep them home, safe, with me. I got them dressed. I lingered a little longer than normal while brushing their hair. I sat with them at breakfast instead of scurrying around trying to tidy up the house. I walked them into school and to their class rooms where I hugged them and kissed them until I had to let go. I told them I loved them and then I walked back to my car with a heavy heart. I drove home, I walked through the door and I sobbed. I am afraid.

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary can happen anywhere.

We spoke to our girls about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary because we knew they would hear about it at school.My girls are only 5 and 7 and I shouldn’t be having to have this conversation but when crazy people armed with guns can walk into a school and start shooting, I would be failing my children if I did not prepare them; have a contingency plan in place for such an event. What kind of world do we live in that we need to have a contingency plan for what to do if a crazed gunman comes into our children’s school? Has the world gone mad?

How will any of us ever feel safe again? Something has got to change.Adam Lanza was a man with mental illness who had much too easy access to guns. I’m hearing people say that the right to bear guns is a fundamental right. They are saying the issue is mental illness not gun control. Mental illness played a part in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, that is for certain but placing blame on just the mental illness serves no purpose but to further stigmatize those afflicted. The issue is that it is too easy for people to access guns. The world is flooded with weapons. Guns are used for one purpose; to kill.People may make the choice to kill someone, but the gun is the method of destruction. Take away the gun and it gets a hell of a lot harder to kill someone.

A gun allows cowards the luxury of standing back and detaching themselves from the heinous crimes they commit. Discharging a gun is less personal than using a weapon that forces a perpetrator to be within a closer proximity to their victim, making it more personal. A semi-automatic is certainly going to make it easier and less stressful to murder small children. I hardly could believe that Adam Lanza, a coward who killed himself instead of facing the effects of what he did, would have been able to kill 27 people had, especially children, had he needed to look into their eyes and see their fear and hear them beg for mercy in their tiny voices.

I will never feel safe again, every time I watch my children walk away in the rear-view mirror, I will be wondering if that will be last time.

Will You ever feel safe again after what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary?

 

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Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newton Connecticut

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary school today? I am sad and I am mad. I am infuriated that more children have had to die to make us understand that the right to bear guns is bullshit.

I dropped my daughters off at school this morning and watched them walk hand in hand into the school, like I do every day. Every day I do that, I am thankful to be their mother and every day I leave them, I pray that they will be there when I come to pick them up. This is what every mother feels, every single time we drop our babies off in the care of someone else. It’s instinctual.

I spent the morning with my husband, Christmas shopping for our girls. It was the first chance we’ve had all season. We even decided to by the girls that puppy that they have been begging for. The entire day everything just felt right and then as I was waiting in the pick up line, I jumped on Twitter and Facebook and I saw it. My worst nightmare right there on CNN. Sandy Hook Elementary school had been under attack; one crazy asshole, Adam Lanza, with a gun, 20 small dead children and 7 more dead. My skin crawled. I’m sobbing writing this right now. I had to hold my kids and wait until my girls had gone to bed to even begin to process this horrific story. Words fail to describe this heartbreaking and savage attack.

I weep because what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School today could have happened to any one of us and to any one of our children. How can this keep happening?

Some mother, just like me, watched her sweet child walk into school this morning and he or she will never walk out again. The mother is now childless and my heart is breaking for all the mothers and fathers of Sandy Hook Elementary school.

It’s the same story over and over again, some crazy asshole gets a hold of guns and his mommy didn’t love him or he felt castrated or chastised or whatever the fuck his excuse is for thinking it’s okay to go into a public place full of children and women and mothers and fathers and starts to spray bullets because his life sucks and so he wants the whole world to hurt too. Well, we hurt. We all hurt and there are children who won’t be tucked in tonight and mothers who arms are empty for one simple reason..guns!

How many times does a gunman have to be turned lose into a public place and must we leave our children vulnerable before we’ve had enough? Well, I’m done. I’m pissed off and I’m done listening to all the reasons you should be able to have a gun. People say this is not the time for politics. Then when? I have said this time and time again; the gun laws are not stringent enough. If they were, not so many nutjobs would be getting hold of guns and stop telling me that every person who gets a gun and kills a bunch of people got it illegally. That is bullshit. The simple fact of the matter is that guns kill people and when you give guns to people who have no respect for law or life then you are giving them a license to kill innocent children. That’s it.

You can tell me it’s your right to bear arms. I say no, it isn’t. But it was those mothers of Sandy Hook Elementary School’s right and privilege to get to kiss their babies goodnight and they have been robbed of that. Your right to bear guns does not trump their right to bear babies.

I am sad and sickened about these beautiful children who will never get to grow up and their parents who will never get to hold their children in their arms, push away a wisp of hair or tell them that they love them again because people refuse to give up their right to bear arms.  Guns kill people and it’s about time that we all take responsibility for that.

My thoughts and prayers are with the mothers and fathers of Sandy Hook Elementary school.

 

Photo: Jessica Hill AP

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Chicago, Facebook Live, Throat Punch Thursday,Brittany Herring, Hate Crime, Donald Trump

Throat Punch Thursday,guns, sandy hook, valeria levitin

There is so much going on this week. I was not going to post a Throat Punch this week because I wanted some levity and none of us need to feel more down. So, if you don’t want to read about what is about to make my head explode, by all means, please don’t continue on today. I have to write it out because keeping it in is triggering me so I will start with my litany of stupidity int he world now.

First, there is a woman who has written a blog post, which I will most certainly not link to because I refuse to drive traffic to her conspiracy theories, and she is convinced that there is a government conspiracy because the media has not cross examined the only survivors of Sandy Hook. You know the two children and the nurse who hid in the closet for 4 hours who saw unthinkable things and have been traumatized by these events? Maybe the media is being human because if they tried to be any other way, the general public would lynch them. Did you know that there are people who actually exist and believe that the Aurora shootings and the Sandy Hook shootings are nothing more than government orchestrated murders done to further a gun control agenda? Wait. Stop. Re-read that. These are the same people who are stock piling guns and ammunition. They really exist and they are dangerous. I thought conspiracy theorists only existed in the movies with Mel Gibson and in the minds of acute schizophrenics but no, they are alive and well. These are the same people who think that the Holocaust, the walk on the moon, the Kennedy assassination and the death of Elvis, Tupac and 9/11 are all hoaxes orchestrated by the government. I am appalled and shocked and I am afraid.

Valeria Levitin, world's thinnest woman, anorexia

Second, there is a woman in Monaco, Valeria Levitin, who weighs only 56 pounds. She is quite literally a walking skeleton. She is fighting for her life. She is losing. But in a world obsessed with being thin, she is getting fan mail. Do people not realize that idolizing her and cheering her to continue on and share her method of destruction makes them as culpable as cheering “jump” to a person on a ledge. My God, what is wrong with people?

Third, people who are saying that the culprit is not that Adam Lanza was armed but that he was mentally ill. I take a personal offense to these comments. I have a diagnosis. A whole shitload of the world is diagnosed with a mental illness. That does not make us all murderers and we are all more than the sum total of our diagnosis. Adam Lanza was a murdering asshole who had access to guns because there are too many fucking guns in the world. Unless you are a cop or  in the military you don’t need a handgun and if you are hunting, you need a shotgun. If you are none of these, you don’t need a gun. Stop hiding behind your right to bear arms argument. You know what kills people? GUNS in the hands of over zealous, power hungry, vigilantes who think it’s their right to kill in the name of whatever they feel is a threat.

Fourth, People who want to give teachers guns. Teachers are not cops. Teachers go to university to learn to teach our children; to be caregivers. They are people that our children should feel secure to go to not afraid to approach. Believe it or not, guns make some children uncomfortable. That should be their focus. They should not be badged and expected to shoot to kill. That is not their job.If we need security, we need it at the door. We need armed security not teachers carrying guns into the classroom. That is asking for accidental shootings. I’m not afraid of guns, as one reader accused me. I grew up in a house with a gun but I don’t believe in them in households. They have their place and anywhere that a child can get access to and accidentally kill themselves or someone else is not that place.

These are my Throat Punches for this week. Please stop doing stupid shit people of the world. Can’t we all just get along. Pray for the Sandy Hook Elementary victims. Respect the families and survivors, they need love and understanding not conspiracy theories and cross examinations. Love people for who they are on the inside not for superficial first impressions. Show compassion for the mentally ill. They are afflicted and need help, not stigma and judgement. Turn your guns in and keep them out of the hands of bad people who will misuse them. Love your children. Hug them tight and know that your life is blessed because they are in your arms and not in a grave. Tell your child’s teacher thank you for keeping your child safe when they are in their care. Give thanks for your blessings, for they are many. Happy holidays. I truly wish you all love, happiness and safety.

If you want to do something, commit a random act of kindness or #26acts of kindness to honor the victims of Sandy Hook elementary.

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florida school shooting, gun control, alan feis, Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

Yesterday, 17 unsuspecting students and adults, including Aaron Feis, were murdered in a South Florida school shooting massacre by 19 -year-old, Nikolas Cruz. Gun control failed us again. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, 19, pulled the fire alarm shortly before 3 pm at his former high school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. As the students and faculty exited the building, he started shooting at them like fish in a barrel. But that wasn’t enough for Nikolas, he followed the people running back inside for cover and targeted those huddled in classrooms hiding. Then, he blended in with the students exiting and evacuated the school. He was arrested later that day in Coral Springs.

They’re calling it the “Florida School Shooting” to differentiate it from the other recent school shootings because they happen so frequently now. This is how we measure life and death now, by geographical location. Quick somebody drop a pin so we know where to send the SWAT team next. I’m not being funny. I am utterly disgusted at how little life means to the people of this country. We’ve done nothing since Sandy Hook. Gun control is still the same shit show it ever was.

You know, the world makes fun of helicopter moms but we’re just being rational in an irrational world. How are we ever supposed to let our children go out into the world without worrying ourselves into an early grave? No wonder so many people homeschool now because at least there you can keep your child safe. Thank God for men like Aaron Feis.

Are you there God? Where were you on Ash Wednesday 2018 when 17 people were murdered by a disgruntled ex-student, Nikolas Cruz in the Florida School shooting? What makes a person hate the world so much that they want to kill anyone and everyone that is not as miserable as they are? Don’t tell me mental illness. It’s meanness. It’s calculated. It’s evil and its people killing people with guns because they can because everywhere you turn guns are readily available. If you can’t buy the gun you want, you can buy a gun and modify it. If they won’t sell you a gun because by some miracle your crazy ass is on a list, you can build it by buying parts on the Internet. Why is this not regulated?

Nikolas Cruz has been charged with 17 cases of premeditated murder. News at 11. It was said on one newscast so matter a factly that you would have thought they were talking about a baby monkey being born at the local zoo. What kind of world are we living in? Where is the outrage? Where are the grief-stricken parents of the living students with pitchforks and torches demanding that our government do something? I mean, of course without a whole lot of people make a whole lot of stink the government is not going to do shit because they got paid a whole lot of money not to.

Former classmates said they were not surprised at the identity of the suspected shooter. Cruz loved showing off guns, student Eddie Bonilla told CNN affiliate WFOR.

“We actually, a lot of kids threw jokes around Iike that, saying that he’s the one to shoot up the school, but it turns out everyone predicted it. It’s crazy,” Bonilla recalled.

Why did no one call the police on this kid? He was clearly exhibiting unstable behaviors.

Cruz had once been expelled from the high school over disciplinary problems, Broward County Public Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie said.

 

He purchased the gun legally. He passed the background check. At 18 you can buy an assault-style weapon but you have to be 21 to buy a handgun. Let that sink in for a minute.

I find it interesting that as they were interviewing former classmates of Nikolas Cruz they were saying things like yeah, sure, Nikolas was the guy most likely to shoot up the school. He had lots of guns. The faculty at one point forbid him from carrying a backpack because of the fear that something exactly like this might happen. Yet, here we are. It happened and instead of anyone stopping him, they all just shake their head and go, we knew he’d do something like this. What the f*ck?

“This has been a day where we’ve seen the worst of humanity. Tomorrow is gonna bring out the best in humanity as we come together to move forward from this unspeakable tragedy,” Runcie said.

This is supposed to be our consolation. Humanity is going to be “better” for a few days.Celebrities are going to tweet out their prayers and condolences. Regular people are going to feign outrage without actually ever doing anything about it becoming themselves willing parts of the problem. Yeah, like the days and weeks after Sandy Hook. Nothing has changed. There are more school shootings than ever. I mean, what are the statistics for the likelihood of your child getting shot or murdered at school these days?

What’s worse, our government makes sure that these weapons are available because it’s a “constitutional right”. So when it’s your kid, or your wife or your husband or mom or dad who gets shot in the face and murdered just living their life tell me how important the freedom to have guns really is. I dare you to. I wouldn’t stand too close to me when you did it.

I keep seeing images of the teacher with ashes on her head, the hero Aaron Feis and a girl with a mylar balloon. It was probably one of the best days of this teen girl’s high school life and now, it will always be one of the worst days of her life. It’s traumatic and I think it’s the worst kind of monster who attacks people at their most vulnerable. Why do these shooters never open fire where there are trained people ready to protect themselves? Because they are cowards and they are afraid. They want to exact horror by murdering innocent, unsuspecting people because then they have the upper hand. Better yet, be a real man, come pick a fight…hand-to-hand with someone your own size and get your ass kicked the way it deserves to be. But they won’t because they are cowards of the worst kind.

But you know who are the bigger cowards? The politicians who allow the NRA to buy their votes. They value money over human life. Worse still the parents who fight for the right to bear arms and then send their children into the world to be slaughtered by people with guns. If not for yourself, do it for your children. Unless we are going to train and start sending every student to school with a weapon to protect themselves or impose real gun control, then we need to all be sterilized because I’d rather not bring a child into this world than to bring one into this world to be murdered by an NRA enthusiast.

We live in a world where every drop off good bye could be “the goodbye”. I know this. You know this. We choose our words more carefully. We hold tighter. We coddle. We spoil because any minute could be the minute someone sprays the hallways of the elementary school with bullets and paints the walls red with the blood of babies… our babies..my babies and your babies. Anyone’s babies because that is the truly scary part, no one is safe. Not even the child of a parent who is a staunch supporter of the NRA because a gunman with a semi-automatic weapon doesn’t stop to ask.

How do you explain to a parent who’s lost everything that your right to bear arms trumps their child’s right to life?

It feels like I’ve written this piece a few hundred times before because I think I have. Why have I? Why does this keep happening? Why does our government stand by and do nothing but come up with sound bites and excuses? Why do we the people accept this? When is enough too much? When it’s our own child whose tiny body lays limp and lifeless in the quad? When it’s our child who cowers and hides for hours as some person with a gun plays a sick game of hide and seek where if you’re found… you’re dead? When it’s your child, who even if they’re lucky enough to survive they are damaged forever. They are not the same child you sent to school that morning and that child may not have died but they are never coming back.

Nikolas Cruz, Parkland Florida, High School shooting

We live in a world where our children have to think fast enough to put their backpacks full of books on before running for their lives just to try to avoid getting shot in the spine. They have to remember to bob and weave. They have to stay silent and stifle tears and terror while their friend a foot away is shot dead in front of them. They have to play dead and pray the shooter doesn’t issue a kill shot to the head “just to be sure”.

Do something!! Stop waiting for your government to figure it out. Demand that they do something to protect our children. When is enough ever going to be enough? How many children have to be slaughtered in the streets, how much blood has to be on our hands before we have the balls to stand united and demand that there be stricter gun control and regulations on parts being bought? We need to make it impossible for everyone to get guns. It shouldn’t be a right, it should be a privilege and if you don’t earn it, you don’t deserve it. If you are not mentally equipped and stable enough to own and trained to operate a weapon, you should not be able to purchase one.

I know gun advocates like to say they need guns to protect themselves from intruders and government. To you I say, 1 you are more likely to be shot with your own gun from an intruder and 2, no gun can protect you from a corrupt government.

But amidst all of this horror, remember the victims like Football coach Aaron Feis who died while using his body to shield three female students. He threw himself in the line of fire to spare them. He suffered a gunshot wound and died after being rushed into surgery. The thing is he shouldn’t have had to die.

“He died the same way he lived — he put himself second,” Lehtio, a student and football team member, said. “He was a very kind soul, a very nice man. He died a hero.”

 

Don’t let the Florida School shooting and the lives of Aaron Feis and the other 16 people who died yesterday have been in vain. Take action. Demand our government to change our current gun control legislation.

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puppy , Christmas, Sandy Hook Elementary

Our new puppy for Christmas Came home with us on December 14th.

All my girls have been really wanting for Christmas is a puppy. I am trying to think of happy things and do things that make my children happy since last Friday. Sandy Hook Elementary is just a reminder of how precious our time is and how blessed with are to have our children with us, within hugging distance. So, I am sharing for the next 3 days, 3 things I did this year, to make my children happy. These three things made them so happy  and shocked that I have to share. Today, I am sharing a gift that we got them last Friday.

We had no idea that the events that were happening in Newtown Connecticut, we only knew that our little girls have had a hard three years and they have been begging for a new puppy since we lost our sweet Saffaron in August. It’s been a really crap year for a lot of reasons and we thought they needed a special gift to make them smile and how it did. I highly suggest to anyone whose child has ever wanted a puppy to get them one. My girls are excited to see their puppy, Lola, every day when they get home form school. They feed her and get her fresh water, they play with her and she has quickly become one of the family.

Gabi, who wants so badly to be a big sister, is thrilled to be Lola’s big sister. Bella, who has been afraid of new dogs since her Grandfather’s dog nipped her when she was 2, has had no problems cuddling and loving on her own sweet puppy. Lola, our sweet Victorian Bulldog puppy, is reveling in the love and attention that she has found her self enveloped in and we are loving having her as the newest addition to our little family.

Welcome to our family Lola puppy

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boston marathon, bombing, boston

boston mararthon, bombing,explosionThis Patriot’s Day the 117th Boston Marathon was bombed near the finish line. Today at 2:50 pm EST, 2 explosions went off 5- 15 seconds apart on the crowded streets in front or in the Marathon Sports Running center near the intersection of Boylston and Exeter Street leaving 23 injured and 2 dead, one an 8-year-old child, so far. The explosions happened 100- 150 yards apart. Most injured appear to be spectators. There were some 500,000 happy unsuspecting spectators waiting to cheer on their loved ones at the finish line. The 26,000 runners were running in honor of the Newton victims with a flag with 26 stars at the finish line. According to authorities, there was a third explosion at the JFK library. They are calling this an ongoing event and advising all Bostonians to stay at home and not to congregate in large crowds. I am shocked and horrified.

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Dear America, election, Donald Trump, parenting, politics, racism, misogyny, bigotry, children, America, American values, xenophobia, America is great

This is an open letter to my dear America. I hope someone is reading and sharing and spreading humanity and kindness faster than the cancer of racism that is devouring the insides of our country. It is destroying us.

I just dropped the girls off at their first day of school and as I pulled away, I started crying. I was completely overwhelmed by a horrible feeling I know all too well. There was a lump in my throat and a knot in my stomach and it wasn’t the typical first day of school mommy blues that we all get but it was definitely not new.

It’s the same feeling that I’ve felt every day that I’ve sent my husband off to work since 9/11. It’s the same terrible, sick feeling that I’ve felt every morning at drop off since Sandy Hook. It’s the same fear I have every single time I’ve gotten on a plane knowing there’s a risk. Not because of heights or claustrophobia but because I know that we live in a world where extremists armed with hatred who think they are doing what’s best for them, are fearless and willing to die for their hate like the racists who descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia this past weekend armed with tiki torches and hearts full of hate.

I spent the past weekend camping in Michigan; one last getaway before the craziness of school scoops us all up and we can’t see past the minutia. We’re about to be swallowed up whole so I wanted a few days of unplugged togetherness, with the people who really matter to me in this world, my children.

Unfortunately, I still needed to be tethered to the real world because of work. I didn’t engage because I wanted to focus on what was right in front of me; what truly matters. I am trying to be present but I see it all happening, this train wreck at 100 miles an hour. Our country is careening out of control and our leader doesn’t know how and doesn’t seem willing to get us back on track.

Dear America,

I kept quiet and let my thoughts settle into coherent actions. But I’m tired of the burden of being a person who always does something. I’m exhausted of telling friends what they already know. I am sick to death of listening while the Internet feigns outrage and shock. I can’t keep giving people who believe themselves to be good, decent Americans permission to keep engaging in the same insanity.

See something. Do nothing. See it on the Internet. Feign outrage. Share a petition on social. Talk to your like-minded friends about the horror and pat yourselves on the back for recognizing that this is, in fact, horrible. 2 days later, forget about it. Forgive the aggressor. Accept the unacceptable as status quo. Move on to the next “cause”. Do nothing.

The time for placing blame has passed, it is now time to take accountability. Complacency is not an option. It never should have been, where human beings were involved. Action is the only acceptable reaction.

We shouldn’t be feigning outrage and shock. We should be genuinely outraged, shocked and pissed off. We should be moved to our feet by our hearts and our minds. We can no longer sit down while the aggressors mow through those of us who dare to stand up for the collective us. America, the home of the brave. 

It’s scary standing up. Those who love you most will tell you to sit down because they are afraid of the danger it brings to do the right thing. Standing up begs to be knocked down but we must get back up. We must endure for if we do not take a stand, we will all be mowed down and our land of the free will not be so free.

Dear America,

I am not blaming you for any choice or vote you cast up until this moment. You know what you did. Your choice is only for you to learn to live with. No one dared believe just how much hatred could breed when given the right growing conditions. But we knew. It has spread across this country like a plague and it is killing all of us.

What I am begging you to do today is to forget about who you voted for or party lines and think about your family, your future and the country that you love so much. The time to dig in has passed. We need to work together as Americans to fix what is broken.

I don’t want to weep when I drop my children off at school because I know that we live in a country currently fueled by hatred. I know there are so many good people in this country. Decent human beings who love their families, their neighbors and their country. The bad apples are in the minority. But they are eating at this country like cancer. Their movement is spreading because it is not being treated. Racism is a cancer that needs to be eradicated.

Dear America,

Stand up. Say something. Do something. Be something. Racism, bigotry, and hatred cannot be tolerated. We need a zero tolerance and we can’t forget. Embrace your outrage. Flame it’s embers and let it fuel you to do the right thing; to stand up to those who would tell us that any human is less than another. Forget what is politically correct and do what is right.

What are you doing? How are you stopping the hate? How are you putting love and kindness into the world? How are you standing up for what is right in the face of what is terrifying?

What action are you taking for your dear America?

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antoinette tuff, michael brandon hill

Throat Punch Thursday,Antoinette Tuff, Michael Brandon Hill, Atlanta, armed gunmanToday I want to introduce you to a real life hero Antoinette Tuff because I decided that the world needs one less Throat Punch today. In light of recent events, I feel the need to clarify that you all know that my Throat Punches are not literal, right? I mean, I am not some caped, unitard wearing crusader running around the streets of the world LITERALLY throat punching bad guys.It.is.Hyperbole. Most of you are writers, you know what this means. I am not the Throat Punching Dexter of the Midwest. It’s a figure of speech people. Okay, now that that’s been clarified, let’s move along to some hero-worship.

I looked at my list and there are plenty of people in the world who deserve to be called out for their bullshit. But today, a common thread in all of these stories is that none of them would exist if there were just a little bit of compassion and human kindness in the world. Today, I am highlighting the caring and compassion of Antoinette Tuff.

antoinette tuff, michael brandon hill, atlanta, gunman

Yesterday, a 20-year-old man in need of a mental health intervention, Michael Brandon Hill, allegedly slipped into a Georgia elementary school, Ronald E. McNair Discovery Learning Academy, with a high-powered rifle and nearly five hundred rounds of ammunition. A terrified but colossally brave, Antoinette Tuff, the bookkeeper in the front office, physically positioned herself between him and the 800 innocent children inside. Then, Tuff called 911 and for 25 minutes, spoke to Hill, like a person not a criminal, and saved the day. I have no idea how she kept her cool but I think she is amazing for doing so.

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“He said he don’t care if he dies, he don’t have nothing to live for,” Tuff told the operator. “He said he’s not mentally stable.”

“should have just went to the mental hospital instead of doing this because he is not on his medication”

She bravely spoke openly about her own struggles with depression over the past year and convinced him to remove his weapons and turn himself in. She was the negotiator between the shooter and the police. She never belittled him or tried to run, she showed human compassion and saved a school full of children from being injured or killed. She saved his life too.

I am in awe of Antoinette Tuff’s bravery. I can’t say what many of us would do in that same situation; probably run unless it was one of our own children locked inside in harms way. I’d like to think I’d be able to stand my ground and show some compassion and protect the children, maybe even stop the situation from going any further.  But I don’t know that many of us would. I think most of us would run out of sheer terror our legs would be going before our brain could stop them.

This could very easily have been another Sandy Hook. Thank God for good people like Antoinette Tuff. She stopped what could have been a massacre by simply extending some human compassion and quick thinking. This Thursday, Antoinette Tuff is my hero.

We are all human; black, white, brown, gay, straight, single, married, parent, childless or childfree, Christian, Jew, man, woman, pretty, ugly, able, disabled, mentally ill, genius, educated, uneducated, democrat or republican. We share the same fears and insecurities and we all have to get up, live in this world and try to find happiness within our own heart. We all deserve respect and human kindness because we are all just trying to survive the day.

I was going to write a Throat Punch Thursday but I already wrote a post on Tuesday about the asshole neighbor who wrote an anonymous letter to the family of an autistic teen suggesting his parents euthanize him and you all know that I am not the violent type. I’m a hugger not a mean girl. Every Thursday, I just like to call out those who are worthy.

Then I considered giving Forbes Magazine my Throat Punch because honestly, they deserve it. Forbes either thinks very little of women to think that GOMI is a top site for women, they didn’t research at all or they think all women are mean girls. We all know GOMI and choose to, for the most part, ignore it because come on people, we can switch the channel. I believe in freedom of speech. I just hate that Forbes listed it as a great site for women with its success built on reducing women to a punch line. But I won’t write that post because my friend Morgan at the 818 already wrote NO, YOU GET OFF MY INTERNET .

So, what do you think? Do I offend you with my use of the term Throat Punch Thursday? Have you been living in fear that I might show up at a blog conference and karate chop you to the neck? Rest assured. I will not. I promise.Who knew people who lived in glass houses were so sensitive? Let’s move on, my unitard is starting to itch.

 

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