Prayers are not enough.

{I first wrote this blog post December 17, 2012 right after the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. I am saddened that it is still so relevant to the mass shooting in Orlando and I think it bears repeating- Prayers are not enough}

I am about to sound like an asshole- a compassionless human with a heart of stone and terrible timing. That being said, here is my next statement: Prayers, hugs and a weekend of indulging your children isn’t going to magically solve the tragic realities of mass shootings. #startsendinghatemailnow

I think the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary is heart wrenchingly awful, massively devastating and simply incomprehensible. The outpouring of grief on Facebook was emotional to say the very least. Friends were imploring parents to hug their kiddos and be thankful for their own children’s lives. The tearful request for prayers of the families of Newtown was powerfully moving. I think this response is on-par for such tragic events. There is the usual call to hug those around you and to pray for the families affected by the tragedy. The nation as a whole takes a deep breath and a small reflective pause while we work on healing the hearts and minds of all Americans. But, I ask (with slight trepidation) what does that really do for the problem at hand? Unfortunately, all the prayers in the world will not end the violence and hate that is in the mind of a killer. I have no answers. This isn’t a blog to work out my plan to end gun violence, it will not help solve the mental health care crisis, it will not help answer why bad things happen to innocent people. I guess I am just thinking out loud. So, in that case, thanks for reading thus far.

I have read that many schools will have armed officers on campus today. I am sure that is reassuring to a country still reeling for a school shooting. I wonder how long school districts already stretched budgets will be able to employ these officers. At what point will we forget the tragedy and allow things to go back to status quo? When will our silent prayers for these terrible times quiet into the background of our hectic lives? Then what? What will change? When is the right time to address this problem with any amount of direct debate?

I know the thought of sending my kids to school never to bring them home again was sobering. I didn’t indulge my kids with candy or later bedtimes, I didn’t allow them to watch Dora all day, I didn’t keep them on my lap all day. I didn’t want to change my routine or let the bad guy win. I thought that keeping my day normalized would help me digest the hate displayed that day. I didn’t think that extra fruit snacks would help heal the world. I may sound callus, but I am ok with that. I would rather foster real discussions to help address the root problems. Perhaps I am just a realist or perhaps I am just an asshole.

First we heal, and then we deal, right? I suppose. Too bad that by the time we heal, another tragedy strikes and the “dealing” part of the equation never gets addressed. When do we say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH?? Good God, 20 innocent kids are dead and it still isn’t time to make a CHANGE??

Go hug your babies. But, don’t forget to hug them every day. Be thankful for your loved ones the whole year- not just when tragedy strikes. I think that is when the real healing can begin.


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