Monday, January 14, 2013

A New Sandy Hook Debate - And It's Not Gun Control

My topic today is sensitive and somewhat difficult.  It concerns Sandy Hook elementary school.  But it’s not about gun control.  That argument is running full speed in our political halls around the country.  No, this is about the survivors, the parents and the school itself.  I’ll explain…

I listened to a segment of the Mike Gallagher Show this morning and his topic was Sandy Hook.  Apparently there is discussion in the neighborhood about the school building itself.  Some parents of the surviving kids want the school demolished and rebuilt, leaving the area where that particular room was empty.  Others feel to tear it down would allow the bad guy to win – that it should remain as is and the children should be allowed to move on past the tragedy that happened in their lives.  There really is no right or wrong answer, in my opinion.  The feelings on both sides are valid and understandable.  I will voice my thoughts and opinion then will welcome any other you might have.  It’s a tough question…

I’m guessing that most parents of those children killed would be more than happy if the school building was destroyed.  They’d probably like to see it turned into a memorial park dedicated to their children.  And that would certainly be understandable.  And they have every right to feel that way, if they indeed do.  But what about the survivors?  One mother said her child and many others walk around scared in the new school where they are attending.  I think that has less to do with a building and more to do with the emotional trauma they endured.  And it’s something they will need therapy to alleviate.  Will they have more problems if they return to Sandy Hook?  Who knows?  But the kids from Columbine returned to their school and moved on successfully.  And kindergarteners, for the most part, are far more resilient after emotional trauma than high school kids.

As I said – there is no right or wrong answer.  Those children (and parents) are going to be scarred for the rest of their lives – the parents possibly more so than the children.  But will destroying the school building fix that?  If they destroy the building, every time they drive by the site they will think “That’s where that school was where my child almost died.”  Tearing the building down won’t erase the memory, will it?

I think my answer is this…  Leave that classroom empty until next year then put a brand new kindergarten class there and don’t bring it up.  The new class will shake off anything that is said because they weren’t involved in the situation (unless one of their siblings happened to be in that class.)  If a parent really feels their child cannot return to that school then they should by all means move the child somewhere else.  It’s not an easy choice but I think tearing down the school may be the wrong one.  Americans must stand up to violence and mental illness and not let a tragedy rule our lives.  We need to move on from tragedy or we’ll eventually be beaten by it.

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