Monday, December 17, 2012

The national conversation

There are not many events that make me physically sick to watch to read.  Watching people fall from the Twin Towers was one, as was watching the New Yorkers in the streets in the weeks afterwards sobbing uncontrollably about their lost love ones.

Friday classifies as one of those days.

The amount of tragedy and sadness was palatable at our school as the events of Sandy Hook Elementary started to leak in to students.  We discussed it briefly and then moved on as the information coming in was incomplete and a policy discussion at the time wasn’t really appropriate. 

Some people are prepared for the wrong policy discussion. 

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Yeah, that’s not the policy discussion I’m really looking for.  In fact, that Fox News contributor has to be a real asshole to even consider that the problem at the root of this catastrophe is school security.  No, the problem can be summed up around two issues:

Mental Health

Gun Control

And it is totally appropriate to start discussing both of those things at length.  As in right now. 

We need to talk about how we have lost control over certain guns in this country, and how the 2nd Amendment is vitally important to who we are as Americans.  We need to talk about balance; and how “murder” has become “mass murder” in the era of assault weapons and AR-15’s.  We need to talk about how over 2/3 of NRA members want stronger gun control, and we need to talk to those who want to ban guns about the 99% of gun owners that are totally responsible citizens.

We need to discuss the health of the kids, including the mental health problems that are being ignored by parents unwilling to face the challenges of raising their children.  We need to talk about the broken system that turns the cheek on an entire population of people, yet enables kids that seek to take advantage of a system that is fraught with a lack of accountability.  We need to talk about the mammoth expense of mental health, and the mammoth social cost of not granting it to those in need. 

These discussions are healthy and necessary for our country to evolve in a positive manner.  Not to talk about them or to assume that the solutions are black and white will just move us back to the same old rhetoric that has gotten us here. 

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