Sent: Monday, December 17, 2012 2:01 AM
Subject: [Free Range Kids] Comment: “Why the Sandy Hook Shooting Feels So Close”
New comment on your post “Why the Sandy Hook Shooting Feels So Close”
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Yes, Lenore, I agree. All the way over here in Australia, this pain is just as raw. The faces of these darling children beaming are out from the front page of today’s paper. The pain is gut wrenching….it’s in my heart, it’s in my head, and it’s in my womb. It does not make me fearful to send my children to school, but it is overwhelming. However,I do want to feel this pain, I do want to share it but the coverage of these tragedies is always taken way too far. They are splashed constantly across our screens and paraded across our consciousness without respite. Jen
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Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 05:49:27 -0800
Subject: Re: [Free Range Kids] Comment: “Why the Sandy Hook Shooting Feels So Close”
hi over there, jen. it’s amazing to me how far a story can travel and how fast. my question for you — if you’re game to think about it with me — is truly this: WHY do you want to share the pain? how is this actually sharing?
i ask not because i am belittling you or the hurt. i feel it too. i’m really trying to figure out what purpose sharing the ultimate pain (of certain parents) serves. i’d like to write about it, too. so if you can help me out, please do.
many thanks and no insult intended. this is something very deep and maybe if we can figure it out, two things can happen
1 – we can harness the empathy for something truly constructive
2 – we can lessen the pain when all it is doing is making us depressed and fearful.
let me know.
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Thank you for taking the time to ask me this. I know that you are not belittling me, or the hurt. I am game to think about it with you…so here goes.
Firstly, I think it is human nature to feel empathy (for most of us anyway). I feel this empathy has a double prong. Our gut reaction to a tragedy like this is to weep for the poor little innocent children and teachers who have died I could not help but imagine their last moments, away from their families, as their lives were so brutally taken. I could not help but imagine their terror as they watched their classmates being shot, and the realization that they could be next. I could not help but imagine the unselfish bravery of the teachers desperately and in some cases, futilely attempting to protect and keep their charges safe and calm. It makes me sick to think about and again, as I write this, it makes me cry.
Secondly, I share this pain…and what I mean by this, is taking a load of this agony into my heart. It’s not a choice. It’s something I do not have the luxury of making a decision about. It’s difficult not to imagine that these children could have been your own. We imagine these kinds of events as our own nightmare and cannot help but feel selfishly “lucky” that the victims were not our own loved ones. There is guilt in those feelings that comes with the realization that these families, brothers, sisters and class mates will NEVER be the same again. Christmas time will never again be a time of joy as with it will come vivid memories and heart wrenching pain for these unwitting participants of this vile act….and not just Christmas. Our pain will fade, but now, while it is still a raw and open wound, is the time for action, the time for change.
The empathy that most of us feel, and the pain that we as a united world feel, is experienced without thought or deliberation but I do believe that these shared and visceral groans of agony have a purpose and that there is something constructive that can come of it. Please let it be so.
Here is an exert from an article written in September 2012 on gun control in Australia
. I believe, but realize there will be plenty of Americans against this move, but that this is the road Obama and America need to take. I do feel safer in Australia knowing that guns are not readily available or accepted as a “tool” in our cupboards.
“On April 28, 1996, Bryant, using two weapons, killed 35 people in Tasmania. It was, at that time, the largest number of people who had died in a single series of incidents at the hands of one person.
The national gun control laws delivered by the Howard government, following this tragedy received bipartisan support. They, nonetheless, caused internal difficulties for some of my then National Party colleagues. Tim Fischer and John Anderson, then leader and deputy leader of the National Party federally, as well as Rob Borbidge, then National Party premier of Queensland, courageously faced down opponents in their own ranks to support a measure they knew to be in the national interest. Many believed, in the months that followed, that hostility towards these gun laws played a role in the emergence of Pauline Hanson’s One Nation cause.
These national gun laws have proven beneficial. Research published in 2010 in the American Journal of Law and Economics found that firearm homicides, in Australia, dropped 59 per cent between 1995 and 2006. There was no offsetting increase in non-firearm-related murders. Researchers at Harvard University in 2011 revealed that in the 18 years prior to the 1996 Australian laws, there were 13 gun massacres (four or more fatalities) in Australia, resulting in 102 deaths. There have been none in that category since the Port Arthur laws.
A key component of the 1996 measure, which banned the sale, importation and possession of all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, was a national buy-back scheme involving the compulsory forfeiture of newly illegal weapons. Between 1996 and 1998 more than 700,000 guns were removed and destroyed. This was one-fifth of Australia’s estimated stock of firearms. The equivalent in the US would have been 40 million guns. Australia’s action remains one of the largest destructions of civilian firearms.
Australia is a safer country as a result of what was done in 1996. It will be the continuing responsibility of current and future federal and state governments to ensure the effectiveness of those anti-gun laws is never weakened. The US is a country for which I have much affection. There are many American traits which we Australians could well emulate to our great benefit. But when it comes to guns we have been right to take a radically different path.”
From what I have heard and read, Adam Lanza, perhaps was missing a basic human emotion. The emotion that we are all feeling now – empathy. Without empathy, we cannot process or acknowledge others’ pain. Without empathy we would not want to help the starving, persecuted, underprivileged or helpless. What would this world be without it? It would be even more brutal, selfish and ruthless than it already is. Empathy and the sharing of pain are the worlds greatest regulators that we have on hand.
I hope this helps.
p.s. More than happy to answer any more questions that may arise from my thoughts on this….and thanks for asking. xx