A very intelligent and insightful article was published in the Huffington Post. It was called I Am Adam Lanza's Mother: A Mom's Perspective On The Mental Illness Conversation In America. In it, a mother shares her concerns for her son who suffers from mental illness. She discusses her worries about her son, her fear of her son, and her sense of helplessness to get much-needed help for him and for her. She admits that the problem is far too big for her to handle on her own. She shared her story because, as she stated, “I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.”
I, and many other mothers across the world, have one thing in common with Adam Lanza’s mother. We all, as mothers, love our children and want them to be healthy, safe, and happy. Adam Lanza’s mother loved her son too. I should imagine that her desire was to have him be happy, healthy and safe. Perhaps Nancy Lanza tried, unsuccesfully, to get help for her son. I don’t know. Perhaps Nancy Lanza’s problems with her son were far too big for to handle on her own. I don’t know.
One thing that I do know with absolute certainty, however, is that I am not Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza (God rest her soul), in the sense that my children and grandchildren do not suffer from mental illness. I have never feared, nor will I ever have any reason to fear, my children or grandchildren. I am blessed with happy, healthy children and grandchildren whom I love with my whole heart. I am loved whole-heartedly by them, as well.
I am not Adam Lanza’s mother in the sense that I would never have a weapon of war in my home. The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and all of the others that preceded it, were needless and possibly preventable.
I am heartbroken by the horrific murders of children and other innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary and by the similar tragic deaths that occurred in mass shootings that preceded Sandy Hook. Senator, Elizabeth Warren, in commenting on the tragedy stated, “I don't know how to explain their deaths, or to explain why six heroic teachers and staff members needed to make the ultimate sacrifice for their kids. And I don't know how any of us explain what happened to our children and our grandchildren.
The ultimate causes of such tragedy are impossible to understand fully, but the difficulty of untangling all the elements is not an excuse for failing to do what we can to make our children safer. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our children to take the steps we can to stop the violence.”
In the past two years over 6000 children have been killed by guns. That number, not only increased by 20 with the Sandy Hook tragedy, but it continues to increase daily all across this nation. Statistics show that 83 Americans die every day from gun violence. Eight of them are children or teens. That is eight children a day, every day. That is thousands a year, and tens of thousands in the last decade.
Just expressing regrets and opening up yet another conversation about solutions to such tragedies is insufficient. It is time to take action to address the culture of violence, mental health issues, and gun reform laws in our nation.
Mental health facilities, and coverage for their services, need to be better funded There has been a decrease in coverage for mental health services and, with the looming fiscal cliff, mental health services could be in even greater jeopardy. President Obama stated in a press conference announcing his task force to address gun violence, “We’re gonna need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun.”
It is also time to take action to reform our nation’s gun laws. As Mayor Tom Menino, the co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, stated, "Now is the time for a national policy on guns that takes the loopholes out of the laws, the automatic weapons out of our neighborhoods and the tragedies like today out of our future."
Most gun owners are responsible people. There should be a place for responsible gun ownership in our society. But no one needs military-grade assault weapons or high-capacity magazine clips to hunt or to protect their family from intruders.
President Obama has created a task force, to be headed up by Vice President Joe Biden. The purpose of the task force is to address many-faceted solutions to the ever-increasing problem with gun violence. Senator Feinstein has introduced a bill to re-instate a ban on assault weapons and other commonsense gun control measures.
Parents and grandparents all across this nation should unite and lend support to President Obama’s reform policies and Senator Feinstein’s bill. President Obama urges Congress to support such policies, and we as responsible parents, grandparents, and other kinds of child caregivers, should also urge Congress to support such reforms.
Additional information: 'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother': A Mom's Perspective On The MentalIllness Conversation In America”
Picture credit: Gabriella Fabbri