As is probably the case for many people lately, I’m continuing to think about the recent shooting in Newtown, CT. I don’t watch television, so I don’t know what kind of coverage it is getting there, but the story continues to be on the radio and all over Internet news pages. I’ve been discussing the topic with people. I met two new people while working earlier this week and each conversation turned to this topic. In one case I was asked directly what I thought about the incident. It is a hot topic.
Along with the talking and pondering the subject, I have begun researching ideas for a book I’ve wanted to write for a few years now, but probably never will actually write it. The book is to be about prison and my research at this point involves reading some books about corrections, deviant behavior, and theories of crime and punishment. One of the books I just read is called Last Chance in Texas, by John Hubner. The book follows students in a Texas State school for adjudicated youth. It is a tough book to read because of the content, but it is very well worth reading. In the book we are introduced to several juvenile offenders, with great detail regarding the lives and crimes of a few of them. With my thoughts on Newtown and Last Chance… I can’t help but think the real tragedy isn’t what happened in Newton, but what happens to children every day in their own homes by their own parents, the people who are supposed to care for and protect them.
I don’t mean to take away from the tragedy of what happened in Newtown, but we are deluding ourselves if we disregard the misery that children are experiencing every day. The abuse and neglect are horrible, in the absolute worst sense of the word. Why don’t we band together as a nation and address those problems? Why don’t presidents get up in front of the cameras, shed a few tears, and speak as a parent about the horrific scenes that play out every day for who knows how many children every day as they receive abuse from their parents? Why isn’t every possible power of the presidency used to protect those children? Only the ones who are shot in school are worthy of that kind of consideration I suppose. Not the ones who endure physical, psychological, and sexual abuse day in and day out.
It is frustrating. What can we do? That’s the question on my mind. What can we do? I have a daughter, and I know what I can do, just everything I can to provide a safe environment for her to learn and to grow. I can exercise self-control and develop patience and put her first. I can put her mother first as well, both of them before myself, that’s what I can do. And I can encourage and strengthen my friends and siblings. Children need a safe environment to develop well. When they are safe they can attend to what they need to learn. If they are in constant distress they won’t learn as well. It does not justify criminal behavior, but it does seem to explain where some of the aberrant behavior comes from when you contemplate the origins of some of the offenders.
I wish we could appreciate the tragedy experienced by all children, not just the ones that receive national attention. Call me what you want, but I don’t think the attention Newtown is receiving is sincere. It is being used as an opportunity to push an anti-gun agenda, or it is being sensationalized for television ratings and page hits. It is bleak, but I still have hope.