Sunday, December 16, 2012

Kindness Compassion and Education

I just finished watching the Newtown service and my heart hurts.  It hasn't stopped hurting since seeing the news on Friday via Twitter that there had been a shooting at an elementary school in CT.  I cried out when reading the first tweet.  A co-worker asked what was wrong and I shared the news.  My co-worker’s response was “this will be another way for people to take away my 2nd Amendment rights”.  I was stunned because all I was thinking about was I pray no children were killed. 

Sadly that wasn't the case.  20 children died.  6 educators died protecting their students.   Family’s lives have been torn apart including the person’s family who performed this violent act.  A town has been changed.  I hope a nation has been changed.

I agree with President Obama that this is a complex issue.  The last few days the few times I have opened the stream of tweets and Facebook posts I have been dismayed.  I have seen posts that say that these shootings would stop if we put God back in our schools.  My understanding is that if you believe in a God that one’s faith was a 24/7 365 deal.  Believing in God doesn't stop when you walk into a school anymore than when you walk into a bank, prayer or no prayer.   

I have seen tweets that were very unkind to agnostics and atheists.  I didn't realize people that choose not to believe in a God were automatically evil.  I don’t believe in a specific religion or God.  I do believe in the spirit of humanity.  I very much believe in kindness.  Kindness to our families and friends.  Kindness to our neighbors & citizens.  Kindness to the person who just cut you off to exit off the freeway.  Kindness to those that may speak less than respectfully to you.  Kindness to all parents because truly that is the most challenging job any person can have.  Kindness to those that fight a disease called mental illness.  Education and understanding goes a long way in support of kindness.

I have seen tweeters arguing about where the security is in our schools and why isn't more being done.  In every school that I have participated in the building of…electronics were used at every exterior door to control people entering the schools.  From the news reports that was the case at Sandy Hook also. 

And finally the tweets going round on Gun Control has been especially emotional.  I don’t like guns, never have.  When I was married to a man that hunted and had guns in the house I learned how to use them because that was the responsible thing to do.  I don’t believe all guns should be outlawed but I really can’t fathom why we need rapid fire guns in our homes.   Referring back to my co-worker’s comment about the 2nd Amendment, it was written at a time when most men belonged to a militia and lawlessness was the norm.  Is that where we are today?

I don’t know what the answers are but unless we are willing to have respectful dialog there will be no answers just more heart break.  


  1. Nicely stated Ginny especially about the dialog - it is nice seeing some real thought applied which is hard for many after any senseless act like this is committed.

    1. Thanks Sean, I appreciate your comment. I truly hope that this country makes some positive changes in 2013.

  2. Good post Ginny.

    Here is my favorite quote for the weekend. A local radio personality said it.

    "It's impossibly to apply logic to a completely illogical person."

    No one who can do such a thing is doing so through any logic.

    The last thing I was thinking was how this would affect my second amendment rights. I couldn't stop crying long enough to think of anything other than the horrific loss.

    I can understand why so many will want to limit guns further. The thought certainly crossed my mind.

    The gun argument gets us off the real issue at hand.

    This man, and those like him, have heart and probably head problems.

    In America the value of human life continues to be diminished. It is no one thing but a combination of multiple things.

    There is an increase in mental illness in this country. I'm not normally a conspiracy theorist but how well can we trust organizations like the FDA? Americans above all other countries take in a ridiculous amount of chemicals. Both medical and nutritional.

    What if this increase in mental illness has a foundation in the amount of chemicals we pump into our babies?

    This does not excuse the behavior of these violent men. It can only serve to provide insight into causation.

    Not all mentally ill people are dangerous of course. Many are though. If you combine that mental illness with a traumatic upbringing, violent movies and violent video games you may be producing a person who struggles to see the value in not only their own life but in the lives of others.

    These are just some of my thoughts on the issue and are certainly up for debate.

    What cannot be denied is that human life across the globe is being diminished in value. That is the core issue facing mankind today.

    My faith tells me that I should not base the value of my fellow men on what they are worth to me. I have to base their value on what they are worth to God.

  3. You bring up a very interesting point James. In fact I am going to reach out to Alexandra to share your point. Thanks for commenting - I do appreciate it.

  4. Ah, James, I believe Ginny mentioned me because I have an advanced degree in counseling??! The percentage of mentally ill people who are a danger to others is quite low. And the diagnosis of Aspberger's isn't one of the diagnoses that is associated with dangerous acts (to others; depression rates are higher). I am firmly against guns, especially semi-automatic and any type that can shoot more than one bullet at a time. I do respect the rights of those who hunt for their own food. I have not seen any info that shows a cause and effect with chemicals and mental illness, but that doesn't mean there isn't one (or perhaps a correlation). It just means I haven't tracked that. I am very distressed that mental health care has been decimated throughout the U.S. and that families have to go it alone for the most part. Which means you have to have enough money and stamina to do it yourself. My opinion is two-pronged - ban anything that does more than one bullet at a time, and put reasonable amounts of money into prevention and care for those who are mentally ill. While we're at it, much of our food is industrial, and isn't made with human health in mind.

  5. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Alexandra.

    I work as a nurse at a mental health crisis house here in Kansas City. Since we are community based I understand all too well how underfunded mental health services are for those who truly need it.

    I see more violence from schizophrenic people over autism spectrum disorders. I do agree that by percentage violence in mental health is low. Still, there is plenty of unpredictability among this group.

    While I don't see gun control the same as you I certainly think something has to be done and it needs to be significant.

    My wife who grew up around guns and has never wanted much in the way of control and limits gave me an ear full last night.

    "James, Americans have taken the freedom to bear arms too far. These types of abuses have gone on for too long. This is what happens when a freedom has been abused. It gets taken away."

    I'm too smart (and she is a lot smarter than I am) to ignore words of wisdom from my wife.