Monday, December 17, 2012

Somber reflections

Somber reflections

I have been reading Facebook comments all weekend and watching CNN among other sources trying to understand the tragedy that occurred in Connecticut over the weekend. I think my biggest frustration with the coverage is the plethora of misinformation that was put out in the wake of this tragedy regarding who the perpetrator was, what his relationship was to the school, and the speculation related to why he did it. I admit I had the tv on once I heard about what had happened, but it bothered me to listen to the speculation and hype that surrounded this event. I want to hear the facts, as released by the authorities, rather than anonymous sources who seem credible. Although I feel this way about a lot of news coverage, whether it is election coverage, celebrity speculation, or high profile trials. In some regards, one can no longer trust the media for accurate reporting because of all the "expert opinions" being touted and judgments being rendered before all the facts are in.

My heart just breaks for the families affected by this tragedy. Justin, Alexis, and Kajsa are all the ages of the victims and I cannot imagine losing even one of them! We have had our share of tragedies that occurred over the holidays that have forever changed the face and tenor of those holidays for most of us. The same is true now for those families. I also think the are dialogues that need to begin, especially surrounding the issues of mental health, mental illness, and how we as a society deal with these vulnerable individuals. A very brave mother wrote a widely disseminated article about her experiences with her 13 year old son who has been violent with her and made threats of self-injury and how hard it is to get adequate services for him prior to something horrible happening, resulting in legal action. As unpopular as it may seem, I believe there is a need for long-term, non-prison related treatment facilities where individuals who need them can be treated away from prisons or places where they could either be negatively affected by or negatively effect the lives of others. Mental institutions are no more negative than nursing homes in my opinion, any more than group homes or treatment centers are. I also believe in orphanages, places where lost children can grow up cared for with a sense of connection, identity, and self-esteem. They have to be properly staffed, and have some structure to them, but be places where there is some accountability, resources, and support available to support as high a quality of life as the individual is capable of. I am one who agrees with the concept of least restrictive environments, but there are individuals who need structure and organization in order to function at their best.

I also believe we need to have open dialogues about how best we can support families in crisis, which is, in my opinion, even more important than discussions on gun control. Something is seriously broken in our society when we don't have the appropriate resources available to help individuals in need. We need to have alternatives available because one-size fits all just doesn't work!

Anyhow, that is m rant/opinion. I am praying for those families who were affected by this shooting, including the first responders and others who had to deal with the aftermath of such a terrible situation.

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