CT Working Moms

    Time to Engage – We Can Do Better.

    Posted December 19th, 2012 by

    Piece Written by Jillian Gilchrest, blogger for CTWorkingMoms and resident of Connecticut

    What a weekend. What a week. Such a horrible act of violence has shook us all and flipped life on it’s head.  My heart goes out to the families, the teachers, the Newtown community, first responders, elected officials, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, and friends.  It’s a dark time, but the love and strength coming to and from Connecticut has been amazing.

    I was so moved by Sunday night’s gathering-people coming together in love and respect to support and honor one another.  And I so appreciated President Obama’s remarks.  He was thoughtful and honest and asked us to engage in a conversation with him about how we can do better to protect our children from future violence.

    I for one would love to have this conversation.  All of the media attention is certainly overwhelming, but it is also an opportunity for great change.  During this entire tragedy, I’ve been following the media coverage and using Facebook as a way to process and understand what is going on.  I don’t know if something like this can ever truly be understood, but I find it useful to talk things out and I wholeheartedly agree with the President, that just because these conversations are difficult, that isn’t an excuse for inaction.  All the more reason why we should discuss!

    Here are a few things I’m thinking about…I invite you to engage and expand the conversation.

    1. Teachers–Thank you. Thank you for loving our children and protecting our children.  Teachers have amazing instincts, obviously. We should respect teachers more and empower them to be the best they can be.  I think that the training teachers have received since Columbine paid off and the courageous acts of the teachers in Sandy Hook Elementary are astonishing.  I am also sad that our teachers must receive this training, which leads me to my next issue.

    2. “Gun Control”– What is that anyway?! It’s one of those issues that has been made into an ideological debate of ‘for or against’, leaving little room for a rational conversation.  Well, enough is enough with all of that.  I don’t want my son and daughter to grow up in a violent society where gun violence is a very real threat.  It’s important that we have an honest and rich conversation about guns and access to guns in our society, especially in light of some people suggesting that we move toward a society in which teachers are armed.

    Yes…you heard me right. Some people are suggesting that the answer to all of this violence is for us all to be armed. Come again!? I don’t want teachers to be armed!  And I sure as hell don’t want to be armed.  That’s what police are for!  I don’t want to raise my kids in a society where we need to defend ourselves against gun violence…that feels overwhelming and chaotic.

    Continuing with “gun control” for a minute, I am also interested in knowing more about an “assault rifle ban”.  After this summer’s terrifying movie theater shooting in CO, I was left questioning how anyone can access guns, ammunition and protective/combat gear on the internet without having to register or get approved.  I don’t care if people hunt–do your thing–but I do have a problem with someone being able to purchase “magazines” and “clips” that make rapid firing possible. You don’t shoot deer multiple times in a row… Why are these products on the market and being sold for individual use? I don’t get it and want to know more.

    3. Mental Health– A lot of conversations are also happening about mental health, including a powerful and controversial post that was featured on the Huffington Post, from a mother detailing her experience with mental illness and needing help for her son.  Experts and advocates are shining a light on current policy that does not require people to receive mental health treatment unless there is a risk of harm.

    I find it troubling that the only way I would be able to get help for my adult child if they had a mental illness would be by getting him or her in trouble with law enforcement.  That doesn’t seem to make any sense and I would like to know why this is the case and what it would take to change that.  Additionally, advocates are discussing the need for a greater social investment in treatment and awareness of mental illness.  I’m interested in knowing more and learning what an ideal mental health system would include.

    I bring up these issues in the hopes of engaging in a meaningful and respectful dialogue. My way of coping with something so horrific and unfathomable is to seek answers and action.  I’ve had enough of the violence and the pain and the sorrow.  If we can do anything to prevent something like this from happening again, then we should.  We owe it to our children and to the children and families of Newtown.

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    2 Comments

    December 21, 2012 at 3:00 am by Andrew

    Oh where to start.

    I’m a gun owner, my parents are gun owners, and their parents before that, my wife’s parents and grandparents as well, ok so maybe there is a pattern here… Please keep in mind that we think differently than some other people do about guns. Some things I say will make NO sense at all. While some others might seem rude and maybe crude. If I offend anyone I apologize in advance, please read at your own risk. One thing that my Dad impressed upon me we that the world is filled with “not nice people” perhaps I’m one of them.

    Lets define what a gun is. A gun is a TOOL. (what?)
    Yes, that’s right a gun is tool, it is a tool for killing something while keeping yourself relativity safe. A knife will work just as well to kill something as a gun will, the gun just does it more efficiently and keeps you safer. (a cold definition, but a don’t think anyone will argue with it.)

    That being said, I will address the issues that are open to comment.

    Teachers: I love teachers.
    Teachers are the most wonderful kind of person, they love and care for our children as well as pass on their hard earned knowledge for relatively low pay. (at least in my state) Its a pretty good deal for us, we should all go hug a teacher.

    Gun control: I will quote and write a response, that section is all over the place.

    —-“Gun Control”– What is that anyway?!”—-
    Gun control can mean many things, to a suburban house wife it might mean that only the cops have guns and they will keep her family safe at all times from bad people. Maybe to the “red neck type person” gun control means using both hands. In my opinion, both of them would be living in a nice fantasy world. Gun control should having nothing to do with the guns themselves. (what?) Another hard reality is that guns do not magically kill people, people kill people. So the problem is not the guns, the problem is the people who are holding them. So don’t control the guns, increase the regulations and the control on who CAN and CANNOT legally own them. Bad people will still have them either way…

    Now, I can hear the screams from here of people saying that if no one had guns it would be better. Not so. Lets be logical. Say there is a bad man who is going to break into a house, we will be fair and give him a weapon, he is armed with a baseball bat. Someone IS in the house. Right now its a toss up if he will come out alive, there could be someone in there with a gun and shoot him, and its a risk he can choose to take, MOST bad people choose not to take it.
    Now lets look at it a different way, guns have become illegal to own, you have the same bad man, the same baseball bat, the same house with someone home. Being logical about it, why would the bad man NOT break in? What’s the worst that can happen? He meets someone with a bat? Really? Sounds like he has a pretty GOOD chance of walking away with his life.

    I personally would like to keep the bad men guessing if they are going to walk out alive. Remove the gun and I might as well just leave the door unlocked and wave as they come in and rob me. Windows are expensive to replace, why go through the hassle? And don’t forget to ask the bad man if he wants a romp with your wife and young daughter before he leaves too, after all you probably couldn’t stop him, even if you wanted to. (too crude? and yet so true…)

    And yes, I do have guns in my home, six of them, (evil right?) All are locked up except one. I keep my .45 on top of my dresser in a pretty box, with seven bullets in the magazine (does that make it high capacity?) and NO bullet in the chamber. (OMG what if his kids found it!?!) Now what that means is that if you pick the gun up and pull the trigger nothing happens, you would have to pull the slide back all the way and let it go in order for it to work. My wife has a hard enough time doing it so at this time the only way my 5 year old could kill someone with it would be if she beat them to death. If she could get it down. She’s a sharp kid, she knows only two things about guns, “guns are for Daddy’s” and “I don’t touch” and that is all she needs to know for now. My wife wont be the woman in that tragic story, my only fear is that the bad man might be between her and the gun. But its not really practical to have a gun at both ends of the house.

    —-”I don’t want teachers to be armed!”—-
    I disagree, I would donate to heavily to the “Arm your teachers fund” Again I have to be a little logical. Why does a bad man not try to rob a police station? Simple answer, there are 50 people inside with guns who are more than happy to shoot him for being stupid enough to barge in with a gun. Now lets take a school with 50 teachers, say every one of them had a gun, and they are required to pass tests in accurate shooting and gun safety, every 6 months, just like a police officer does. If they don’t pass the tests they can’t go to work.
    If you were a bad man would you WANT to enter a building with 50 armed people who are trained to kill you? And who are protecting the most valuable thing on earth, children. I don’t think you would.

    —-”And I sure as hell don’t want to be armed. That’s what police are for!”—-
    I’m going to be blunt, VERY, VERY, blunt. I hope a person who thinks like this never meets someone on a dark street who would like to have intercourse with a woman and will not take “no” for an answer. I’m guessing they can’t get their fancy phone out, enter the screen pin, and dial 911, talk to the operator, stand around for 10 minutes waiting for an officer to respond BEFORE the bad man removes their ability to call for help. Like I said, BLUNT, sorry. Having a gun might or might not make a difference, at least with a gun all you have to do is reach into your purse and flick the safety off and pull the trigger. Far, far faster than the dial 911 method. Just an opinion there, but I think you can see the logic…

    —-”I was left questioning how anyone can access guns, ammunition and protective/combat gear on the internet without having to register or get approved”—-
    I would like you to cite your source on that one…. Guns cannot be shipped to a private individual unless they were manufactured before the late 1800′s. Guns manufactured after the 1800′s can only be shipped to a federally licensed retailer, and that retailer is responsible for all the paperwork and checks that are involved. Guns can not come to a persons house. The sole exception to this would be a muzzle loading type weapon, if you don’t know what that is then watch a pirate movie and all the guns the pirates use are muzzle loaders.

    Ammunition and protective/combat gear is unregulated, they can be shipped anywhere unless local laws forbid it. What’s the point? You can walk into WalMart, show your ID and walk out with a bag of ammunition. Likewise you can walk into a sporting goods store and walk out with a bag full of protective/combat gear and more than likely not even show your ID.

    —-”but I do have a problem with someone being able to purchase “magazines” and “clips” that make rapid firing possible.”—-
    I can empty all 8 rounds from my model 1911 .45 pistol and reload in under 10 seconds. Now if you go to a more modern style pistol like a Glock then you are talking about 15-18 rounds with a 2 second reload. The “clip size” is very misleading. Yes, you can fire more shots without having to reload but reloading takes almost no time. Now if you add in the shooter being a nervous and unskilled teenager then the reload time will go up, but even if it takes 10 seconds to reload, the chances of someone being able to DO anything in that windows is so small that it doesn’t matter. So say the Federal Government put a “ban” on high capacity magazines, say its limited to 10 rounds. That will lead to two things, the bad people using illegal magazines to commit crimes (go figure they are already breaking the law) or using more legal sized magazines, if you have a bag full of them all you have to do is reload (2-10 seconds to reload) and keep shooting. So to be clear on that, clip size might make a difference, but not really enough to matter. The rapid fire process is all about how fast you can pull the trigger. Your car goes the same speed regardless if the tank is all the way full or almost empty, the only thing that that will determine is when you have to refuel. Same goes for guns.

    —-”Why are these products on the market and being sold for individual use?”—-
    I think its called capitalism… I could be wrong, the people who make the guns for all of our soldiers and police officers have to make money, there is NO way they could pay for all their research and development and manufacturing for our troops on a government salary. Likewise the Federal Government likes to collect taxes and all those bullets and guns that are sold… Cigarettes are still legal, they are PROVEN to kill more people than guns, but you don’t see them being banned now do you? Comes down to the bottom line of MONEY and people wanting to make it, the Government included. You can toss the who Constitution thing around if you want. But its simple, People want guns, people will pay money for guns, people will make and sell guns, the Government will tax the sales on the guns… Capitalism… Cool huh?

    —”Mental Health”—
    I know nothing about mental health, so admitting that I will leave that for others to comment on. I just wish more people cared and that more help was available for people with mental issues.

    Don’t be too harsh, I was very civil and hope I made good points. Remember, I could be one of those “not nice people.”

    Thanks for reading!

    [Reply]

    December 20, 2012 at 11:06 am by Loren Gard

    I agree that there is no reason for high capacity ammunition clips. As to arming teachers, I would rather see them armed and trained to protect kids, than to rely on police response time, and having teachers shield children with their own bodies. This happened in Sandy, and both teacher and students were killed. There is no solution to this kind of terror. Remove guns from the picture entirely, and a can of gasoline, or a host of other weapons can be employed.
    Tougher gun laws requiring training and background checks… yes. Elimination of rapid fire high capacity ammunition clips… yes, automatic weapons ban… yes. If someone is focused on killing, they will find a way. Unfortunately, there is no certain solution. Written with all due respect.

    [Reply]

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