Sunday, February 1, 2015

Still Healing from Sandy Hook

I have written before about the heroic teachers of Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012, when a gunman killed 20 children and 6 teachers with 154 shots before he was stopped. Teaching changed in January of 2013, according to one teacher, Abby Clements. “We care about them emotionally as well as teaching them.”

The community is still healing. Divorce, separations, alcohol abuse, drug abuse and domestic violence have been the result of the children’s deaths. All of these parents grieved in a very different way and are still grieving and will continue to grieve for a very long time.

A news story a few weeks ago talks about how these teachers now have a cause that goes beyond caring about these students. For the 37 teachers, the anger about what happened has turned to activism.

They now have a purpose: gunsense. One teacher, Abby Clements, said, “I feel I have a responsibility to make sure that I try to do something. I look at the children every day and I can’t let them grow up in a society where this kind of action is acceptable. I know I don’t want others to go through what we did.”

What they want is to close loop holes that allow online and private sales of guns without background checks. In a survey, 74 percent of NRA members support requiring a universal background check for all gun sales, but, as an organization, NRA does not.

“We’re against a strong lobby, but we know we can make a difference,” said Mary Ann Jacobs, librarian. Some gun owners are afraid of laws infringing on their rights.

“This is not a political issue. The question is, ‘Do you want to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people and prevent more gun violence. It’s not, how can we take people’s guns away."

These teachers are pushing for a ban on high capacity magazines for assault weapons. The less capacity, the less number of bullets in a magazine. And more children and adults would have survived. They don’t want a legacy counted in children they helped keep safe two years ago but in the kids they’ll help keep safe from now on.

There have been many, many shootings in schools since and before Sandy Hook. They believe it is unacceptable that 31,000 Americans, from children through adults, die each year from gun violence.

“We have to have that confrontation with law makers; we have to be ready to have that argument,” the teachers say. "We have to save our children."

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