Thinking beyond the guns

 Friday I woke up extremely excited because I was going to get to see my little Gael. It was time for a 32-week ultra sound. Hidden behind the excitement there’s always a fear that something may not be right.  The fears later that day went beyond his physical well-being.

When I first got pregnant I couldn’t help but to think about my sister and her baby Malaya. Malaya was born with a genetic disorder and lived three short months. Doctors did not detect anything until the baby was born. At the beginning of my pregnancy I couldn’t help but think back at the pain in my sister’s eyes when Malaya passed. I thought about the baby inside of me and how the pregnancy would be. As if the shock wasn’t enough, my fear of something going wrong also weight heavily in my mind.

Today I’m in my 8th month of pregnancy and fears still exist. Every time I go in for an ultrasound I pray nothing is wrong with my baby. Every time I feel something different I wonder if he is okay. Every time I think of the sleepless nights we will have, the pain he may feel one day when he gets sick, and the powerlessness I may feel when I have no clue on how to ease his pain.

On Friday my other fears came to light when I sat down and read about what happened in Newtown, Connecticut. Just to think of the little angels that were killed made my heart ache. I began to think about my little Gael and the violent society he will come into. I began to read people’s angry posts on social media about the gunman, gun control and politicians who do nothing about it. I was bothered by the way media was sensationalizing the story and how they plastered images of children in pain. I agree we do need better laws but guns are not the only problem here. 

When tragedies like this happen we have to look beyond the obvious. At first, I thought of the horrible trauma the kids who survived this massacre. One of the first images I saw was the one of the children walking in line and their little faces filled with horror. I was disappointed at the lack of sensibility of all those who used that image.  I thought about the parents of the 20 children who probably showed up at school praying and hoping their kid was okay. I thought about the brave teachers who died shielding their students.

I also began to think about the person who caused it and what went terrible wrong in his life to drive him to do this. He didn’t just snap and decided to kill. There’s history, cause and effect. I think about the possible red flags this individual showed to people near him, I think about this childhood, his surroundings, up bringing and possible traumas. I cannot help but to wonder how our society influenced his life and what we could’ve done better to help him. No, I’m not excusing his behavior what but we have to look beyond him grabbing those guns and senseless killing.

We MUST think about our mental health care system and ask if we are doing enough to prevent tragedies like this. What about our society? The media we feed our children, the toys we buy, the games, the sports, the movies, the music, the language, the imposed gender roles, our rape culture, the masculinity we impose on boys and the pride we take on justified killings.

We should be thinking about all of these factors that affect our society and makes us who we are. It’s not just guns that kill people. That same day a man in China stabbed 20 children. No gun necessary. Think of September 11, Kansas City bombing, the many women that die from brutal rapes and beatings, the children who die from child abuse and neglect, the elderly who die from starvation, religious massacres, genocides, and all the other violent ways we kill each other.

Yes, politicians could be doing so much more to help prevent some of these tragedies but so can we as a society. Politicians can only do so much. Changing a law isn’t enough; things need to change all around. We need to learn how to take ownership of our own responsibility and how we contribute to our violent society. We need to look deeper and think about what we can do as individuals to create change in our small circles. We can complaint, bitch and moan all we want but that’s not going to bring change. We can prepare as much as we can but can we really control what can happen? We can hug and say how much we love each other but does that bring real change?  We shouldn’t wait for a tragedy like Friday’s to remind us to hug and cherish each other.  We should do that every day!

Seeing Gael’s face on Friday was one of the happiest moments for me. I was on cloud 9 when I left the doctor’s office and couldn’t stop smiling. I was able to see his nose, lips, eyes, and his hands so clearly.  I didn’t just feel his movements but I was seeing them on screen.  I was so excited about sharing my happy moment and his photo with everyone until I learned about the tragedy. I felt bad about feeling so happy while others were in so much pain. I am fearful every day of the future and what motherhood will bring. Yesterday I was reminded that my fears are not only for his health but also for the world he will get to know once he arrives. But I am determined to do everything in my power to challenge everything around me that could potentially have a negative effect on his life. Our world is not and will never be perfect but we can do so much to make it better. 

Let us not forget the victims and heroes of this tragedy in a few weeks.  Don’t just talk or cry about it but really take action. Take time today to think about what you can do to make your world better. Be realistic but don’t live in denial and don’t just give in to what our society has to offer. SPEAK to your children and LISTEN to what they have to say. WE as individuals have so much power in our hands and we need to use it. 


Two good pieces about how to talk to your children.

What to tell your children ABC Juju Chang

 Talking To Your Children About Violence Against Kids

Two great responses i read on social media worth sharing.

Morgan Freeman

“You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here’s why.

It’s because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed

people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he’ll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN’s article says that if the body count “holds up”, this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer’s face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer’s identity? None that I’ve seen yet. Because they don’t sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you’ve just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man’s name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.”

My friend Christian 

“Gun Control” is not the answer if you want to make it illegal for a citizen to own a gun. “Gun Control” is the answer if you want to revise some of legislation and guidelines in place, that would, for example, ban assault weapons, and enforce stricter background checks. Though, at the Federal level, I would argue that there is already legislation that covers that (The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, The Brady Handgun Violence Act, The NICS Improvement Amendment).

In my opinion, “Gun Control” is simply another example of society’s way of pointing there finger away from the real issue – man.

If we take away guns, man will simply find another weapon to commit his carnage. Less victims, maybe, but the act of violence itself will not be eliminated, because it is a result of a much bigger problem: humanity’s loss of love, respect, and values. That is what is at the core of the problem.

If we put emphasis on learning to really ‘love thy neighbor’, having a respect for life and liberty, and practice living by the values and principals that build us up, rather than tear us down, then you will see that peace, equality, and balance will return into the human sphere.
Otherwise, it’s just a matter of time before man finds an alternative device to use as a weapon.
And, if history is any indication of what will follow, we only need to look back less than a century, and study the effects and outcome of Prohibition. In those days, alcohol was the scapegoat to man’s corruptive and destructive nature…
Guns are the scapegoat now, then what will be next?

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