All of us have heard by now of the tragic, sad, horrific event that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. My heart breaks for everyone involved in this tragic event. Of-course, my first thoughts are for the teachers and children who were killed in the shootings, and for the mother who was killed. My heart aches for their families. The families who will not have Christmas with their children this year, siblings who may or may not have been in the same school as the children who did not make it out. Children who will one day return to school to a new teacher, to a new principal, to new adults in leadership because the brave souls that tried to protect them, did not make it home that night. I can't express my deepest regret for those impacted. For the lives that were cut short - be them adults or children - all lives were valuable and all have families who grieve the loss.
I'm not sure why there is such controversy around this horrific crime. It's tragic. I hate to see something so horrible, turn into something political. The time for that, if there is a time, is later. After people have time to grieve. After the town gets put back together. After the needs of the families are met. AFTER.... not during.
The other thing that I can't stand is speculation. I know that much of the "why" around this event will never be known, and there will always be speculation, if not educated guesses. Maybe they will find something out. Maybe they will discover an answer, a reason - but until then, there is so much speculation. It's terrible.
We've heard so much about the killer. I don't even want to mention his name because it just brings attention to a person who attention is not needed. Attention needs to be brought to the families of the children and adults who lost their lives. Not to the man who did this horrific deed. You hear non-medical personnel on the news stating "facts" that have no factual basis. They comment on medical information, diagnosis that may or may not have been given to this man, and then they make generalized comments about people with whatever disorder they have assigned to him at any given time. Aspergers, ADHD, ODD, multiple personality disorder.... the list goes on. And then the generalized comments start. "Children and adults with X have a tendency to X". It's a generalized sweep that IS NOT reality. It gets under my skin.
There are so many children diagnosed with Aspergers, ADD, ADHD, ODD and other disorders that are normal functioning children and adults. Sure, there are those that have a more difficult time, but even then, there are many success stories for each of these cases, even on the high end of the scale of each disorder - to generalize on the negative side is a crime in and of itself. Do you know that a HIGH percentage of DOCTORS have ADD/ADHD? Yes, those individuals that you trust the care of your children, self, spouses and parents to have ADD / ADHD. Ask them. You might be surprised.
Many children with these disorders have some difficulties. They may have adjustments in school. Some have to take medication and until that medication is "customized" to the child's needs, they may exhibit some problems. BUT, these children are also successful.
There is no need to point to a reason for something like what happened at Sandy Hook happening. If the shooter was missing his left index finger, would we say that he did this because he was missing his left index finger? If he had red hair, would we say he did it because he had red hair? If he didn't get good grades? Or if he got stellar grades? If he was popular? If he was not popular? If he had the measles when he was a child? Would we point to each of these things?
Don't get me wrong. I understand that there may be a link between his condition, treated or not, that may have led him to commit this horrible crime. BUT, does it have to be discussed so heavily on television? Does it have to be mentioned at all. My daughter is 9. My daughter has ADHD. This is ALL OVER THE NEWS. One of the diagnoses that the killer was "assigned" in one of the news reports was ADHD. Imagine how my daughter must feel. Like she is part of a population of people who are known to commit violent crimes. ADHD did not commit this crime. ODD did not. HE did. Plain and simple. And I believe he was fully aware of what he was doing. It was planned. It was calculated. He knew.
I have spoken to my daughter about this. I'm hoping that she heard what I said and took it to heart. But I know how I would feel if I were her. I'd feel forever linked to something bad. I'd wonder if people looked at me differently, or maybe would fear me because of the fact that I had ADHD. Now, not everyone knows that my daughter has ADHD - well obviously everyone reading this does, but I'm speaking of my daughter's friends and school-mates. They don't know. They would have no reason to know.
The bigger issues lies in the actions of the killer. Not the diagnosis. A diagnosis or lack thereof, would not have prevented this. It shouldn't be turned into anything about a diagnosis. He was different. He exhibited things that were questionable to any parent. It's those things that need to be brought to attention, if anything at all. Not a diagnosis. No one child is the same. I don't care what category you put them in. My child is not the same as another child who has ADHD. My child is not defined by her diagnosis. She just lives with it. I do what I need to do to help her. She gets good grades. She has many friends. She really just needs to study differently than others. That's it!!! Maybe there was something wrong with this young man. Maybe he was just pure evil. I don't know. How about we quit speculating? How about we just heal and leave it to the experts to figure out? How about we not spread more "untruths" about conditions that people already have such a prejudice against? How about we just join together and help these people, this country heal?
And what about the families who lost loved ones? Do you think they really want to hear "Well, this man was struggling with XXX". Who cares! I wouldn't care. He killed someone's child. Many people's children. Mothers. Aunts. Cousins. Friends. The sound of the killer's name would make me want to vomit. To know who carried this out is one thing. To ensure he is off the streets to not harm another. But he's gone. Focus the investigation on how we can prevent - we'll never really know what triggered this anyway. And sure, I'm all about finding out WHY, but do it in the background, and stop all of the speculation.
I sent my two oldest kids to school today, fully expecting them to come home this afternoon. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief when my daughter walked in the door. I found myself listening for my son to come home and greeting him at the front door - because I know there are families who sent their kids to school on Friday and didn't have the luxury of having them come home. Times are changing. Times have changed. I take every day with my children as a blessing. I guess it's something good that has come out of this event. I mean that with NO disrespect. My heart breaks for the community, for the families, for the lives lost in Newtown, Connecticut.