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In wake of Sandy Hook tragedy, showing love and kindness could help bring awareness

Liz Young / Senior Lantern reporter

Just 11 days before Christmas, on Dec. 14, Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Twenty-year-old Lanza opened fire in the school killing 20 children, six adults and then himself.
The massacre that occurred at Sandy Hook is a tragedy. It has also been the catalyst that has driven many acts of kindness, encouraging words and heated debates within government about gun control and violence.
I am not saying that I stand on one side of the gun control debate or the other. Instead, I am going to say that I do not think that is the adequate question to be asking. The way I see it, whether correct or not, is that no matter how strict gun regulation laws become, people will still find a way to obtain and abuse them.
Look at it this way: marijuana and other drugs have been illegal in the United States, but drugs are still grown, smuggled and sold on a daily basis in our country and in our community. It is illegal for individuals under the age of 21 to buy or consume alcohol, and yet with the help of older friends and fake IDs, alcohol is often sold and consumed by minors.
Essentially, laws can help with the ramifications of those who are caught doing wrong, but people will always find a way around those laws.
I am not a cynic. I believe that there are good people with great intentions. But for so many, a life of violence is one that they are introduced to at a very early age. Guns do not, by themselves, kill people. People kill people using guns.
Instead of questioning the intentions of the National Rifle Association we need to educate our youth so that they grow to be upstanding individuals, we need to make counselors ready and available in schools and work places so people feel they have a safe place to discuss problems, but perhaps most importantly we need to keep our eyes open.
Turning a blind eye to those that need help the most will not solve our problems. As a country, as a community, we can help each other. We were intended to be “One nation, under God,” not a divided country of Democrats and Republicans or blacks, whites and Hispanics. We are Americans.
I am not saying that banding together would have changed Lanza’s mind. I am not saying that he would have thought better than to steal his mother’s gun and shoot her, 26 innocent children and adults, and then himself.
I am, however, saying that if we start now, maybe other people who may have similar thoughts might choose to talk to someone first.
As a journalist, I see the facts of this shooting, but as a person I see the emotion and I pray for those victims and their families. Arguing over the NRA will not solve our nation’s problems. It will not cure the mental illnesses that may lead to the irrational behavior of a mass shooter.
Showing love, kindness and compassion never hurt anyone. And I believe that perhaps that is where to start. Help your neighbor and treat others the way that you wish to be treated. Maybe if we begin instilling this into the minds of our youth now, our country might look different in 20 years. Of course, I cannot say that for sure, and those innocent children are not going to come back because of it, but just maybe we can bring awareness so that more don’t have to suffer in the same way.
 

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