Charlotte Marshall Templeman
The Littlest Victims, Our Children
With the horrific events of this past week in Newtown, Connecticut, namely the killing of twenty children and six adults, we as Americans, parents, neighbors and citizens ask the question, why? Violence in our neighborhoods and schools has become too rampant and the scenes of sadness, destruction and pain have become too much to witness. We ask ourselves how do we as communities and a nation prevent such tragedies as this. As parents we become more fearful of sending our children to school because we wonder will they be safe. We wonder as we put them on the school bus and kiss them goodbye will we see them again. It has become an all too often thought that one can never get used to. How do we protect our children?
There has been debate about gun control laws, mental illness and prayer in schools. Republicans, Democrats, Christians and the average American all have their own idea of what could have prevented the tragedy in Connecticut. As a parent who has three children in school I do not know what could have prevented the killing of such innocence. I believe however, that all three issues that are currently up for debate have their own place in the prevention of such tragedies as the Newtown killings. When it comes to gun control laws I believe they need to be stricter as to who is allowed to purchase a firearm, especially a firearm meant for hunting. There should be an extensive background into the person life such as background checks through the FBI and local police. Some may think that is a violation of a person’s privacy but we as a country are experiencing too many senseless acts of violence with the choice of weapon being a gun.
When it comes to mental illness we have to begin to address the issue as if it was not taboo. Resources and insurance for those suffering from mental illness should be readily available as well as treatment. Families who know they have someone suffering from mental illness should ensure they are getting the help they need. If a person is not sure if their loved one is in fact suffering from mental illness then the family member needs to seek professional help to find out if that is the case. Being silent and embarrassed will not get the person who needs help any help. No one should be ashamed of what society or their family members will say if it is learned that a loved one is suffering from mental illness. Being proactive about getting help can mean the matter of saving that person and possibly others. I am not at all implying that everyone with mental illness is violent but we all know that treatment is the most important thing that they can receive to help themselves.
Prayer, too many people, is a pivotal part of their lives. It is the catalyst that gets them through rough times, unbearable times as well as the good times. Believing in a higher being and all the blessings that are bestowed on one is part of why people pray. Prayer truly changes things. At one time prayer was a part of the daily school day in many public schools. Prayer was done in the morning once children arrived to school. Once prayer was concluded then the day could begin. Many believe that the climate of the school was much different because of prayer and if I had to comment I would agree. Prayer is such an important aspect of our daily lives whether it is done at home, in school or the workplace. We all know that there are many different religions and some people pray at different times of the day. Whatever religion one follows there should be time set aside for prayer each day.
Because we have not made God our focus anymore in this country, our homes, our schools and communities we are seeing more destruction of humanity. Whether you agree or not with prayer we all should agree that keeping our schools and children safe should be our priority. We should never have to turn on the television and see the senseless massacre of innocent people, especially children. Our children have to know that their homes as well as their schools are safe. As a country we have a lot to deal with and change in order to protect our children. Whatever your stand is on who or what is responsible for the violence in our schools we all should agree it needs to end today. The change has to begin with us as individuals. Let’s make our world safe for our children. God bless the families and victims of Newtown, Connecticut. Let’s never forget.