five + two =

A Mother’s Reaction to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

Sunday, December 16th, 2012 9:04 pm | By Stephanie Woo

My heart is broken for the families of Sandy Hook Elementary School. I’ve spent the weekend crying for those young children, but it’s their families I cannot stop thinking about. No parent should ever have to bury a child. At the same time, my heart is fearful for the rest of us, including my children and my family. As a mother, I keep looking for something out there in the news that will give me the courage to stay in this country and feel safe enough to send my children to school again tomorrow morning. I think about the mall 10 minutes from our house that has 400+ guns on display for sale right next to the line of little children waiting to see Santa. How those two things can stand side by side is beyond me.

We don’t have a TV. So we don’t expose our children to news of any kind. But when they are asleep, I find myself searching constantly on the internet for something that will give me hope. In case you’re looking to make sense of the whole thing, like I’ve been, I wanted to share some of these articles with you.

This article reminded me of the significance of Obama’s 2-term victory. I remember waking up on the morning of Nov 7 and heaving a huge sigh of relief. The kind of change he talks about here happens with elections like these. Be sure to read the articles he refers to as well. 

This article from The Guardian was enlightening about gun ownership. Most interesting to me are these facts: “Between 1985 and 2010 the prevalence of gun ownership has declined from roughly a third of Americans owning a gun to barely 20%. … those who do own guns now tend to have multiple weapons.” And “…gun ownership, in political terms, has for long been a minority issue in the US, with those who do own firearms — by and large being white, older and male — monopolising a national debate.” From this election, it is clear these old white men, who voted Republican more than 6 to 10, are proportionally declining in the US. This 20% no longer represent the majority of Americans and they’ve just lost the last election.

This is the time to remind ourselves that as mothers, we are doing THE important job in the world. We are educating the children who are going to be shaping the future of our world. And it is through that education and the political actions we engage in and model for our children that lead to change – real and lasting change. I find hope in making my voice heard, in voting for the politicians who represent my choices and in teaching (when the time comes) my children to think about the issues that confront us. I refuse to stay terrorized. I refuse to feel paralyzed. I’ve come out on the other side of anger and deep utter sadness: the things that don’t represent the majority of us simply cannot and will not last. Change is coming.

If you want to take action immediately, join me and sign this open petition from WhiteHouse.gov.

Reader Comments (4)

  1. I really enjoy following along on your journey of raising your girls.

    I am not a parent but a hopeful teacher in training, and I understand just a little the fear you feel about guns after this tragedy. However, how will limiting access to them help? Those who break the laws don’t care and those who do will be left unarmed. If a teacher in that school had been armed they might have been able to protect their students.

    I am not a fan of guns, but our world is dangerous.

    We need to be taught how to properly use what is dangerous.

    The act that occurred in Connecticut is evidence of another issue. A culture that is desensitized to violence. A place where the ill are not healed and their minds left un-helped. The man who shot the gun was ill.

    It is rare that a shooting like this happens. Let us pray it stays that way.

    Thank-you for sharing your opinion. I pray that your heart will gain some peace knowing this is rare, and that you will consider what I have said.


    Monday, December 17th, 2012 10:32 am | Valerie
  2. @Valerie
    Are you really suggesting that teachers carry loaded guns in a school?
    What happens if a child picks up that gun thinking it’s a toy ?
    What happens if an emotional, bullied teenager gets hold of it in a heightened state of emotion?

    Surely that goes further to reinforcing the desensitising of violence when young, impressible children are exposed to guns being carried around by their teachers.
    Teaching children you have to carry a gun to feel safe is not a lesson to be learnt.
    This is possibly one of the most ridiculous, idiotic ideas I have heard in a long time.
    No idea what planet you’re on, but glad there’s a lot of ocean between your country and mine.

    Monday, December 17th, 2012 5:54 pm | Alison
  3. I’m sorry it does sound like I am suggesting teachers carry gun. Not what I meant. Sorry. This is a really sensitive subject and really unclear to me and I should have kept my thoughts to myself till they were more clear. My only point is I don’t think it made sense to prevent people who have good intentions from having that security when there are people out there with bad intentions who will ignore the law.

    …I did get to thinking about your point that the access to multiple un-needed guns is ridiculous.


    Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 2:49 pm | Valerie
  4. Thank you for your comments. This is a sensitive, complicated issue and we all need to talk it through to figure out what we actually believe in. Writing this blog helped me arrange my thoughts tremendously. There is no better time and place! Thank you for making your voice heard – thoughtful conversations are what we need.

    Thursday, December 20th, 2012 10:04 am | Stephanie Woo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.