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Monday, December 17, 2012
I was going to do a moment of silence for the victims of the mass shooting in Connecticut, but have since decided that I need to speak up. (image- Jessica)

Not everyone is going to agree with me, but everyone is entitled to an opinion. This one happens to be mine. 

I cried when I watched the news and read the articles online, over the last several days. I have watched people mourn the loss of the adults and the children. I have mourned with them. Then I noticed a shift in the messages that were going through my Facebook and Twitter feed. I am not liking this message. (image- Noah)

I have one side screaming we allow more guns at school, another screaming more gun control, some saying we need a better mental health system and then some pleading for us not to include their nonviolent child in the same box with the violent ones. 

This is incredibly sad to me. All sides are screaming, they are right and everyone else is wrong. None of them are actually listening to the other and are making chaos out of this horrific event. I am going to offer a different perspective, I do not think I am right nor do I think everyone else is wrong. I am going to talk but I will also listen to those that want to share their views with me.
 (image- Ana)
I do not think banning guns will help, nor do I think it is fair. I know it has been suggested that we need stronger laws for those that want to obtain arms. I am not sure that is the answer either. I have read the story about the mother of a child with severe anger issues as well as mental disorders and her woe with getting help. I agree with her that we need more help for parents with violent children. I have also heard from parents with children who have the same disorders but are not violent and I agree with them as well. You cannot lump all children with the same disorder together. (image- Caroline)

One child with autism is not going to react or even display their issues as another child is going too. We all respond differently because we are all different. If we were all the same, we would all respond to medications the same and things would be so much easier. Illnesses and the treatment of mental health issues are complex and thus dealing with them is complex as well. It all needs to be handled on a person by person basis. Any other way is unfair and ignorant. 
 ( image- Charlotte)
This tragedy should open our eyes. We should have stronger penalties for those that sell arms without going to through all the proper procedures, but we cannot ban them altogether. No matter how much time you make someone wait for a gun or how many things they have to fill out or how much red tape has to be gone through to get a gun, we know that a stranger could break into that home and steal the gun. Or a family member with emotional issues could steal it. There are no right answers with gun control, there just isn't and we should not be focusing on it right now either. 
 ( image- Chase)
The reason for this horrible hurt is not fully known and may never be fully known. Punishing others for his crime is not going to lessen the crime that happens afterward. Anyone that has ever dealt with a violent person knows that if they are truly determined to cause damage they will and no law banning guns is going to stop them. They will just pick a different method of damage and be on their way. (image- Dawn)

In the same respect we cannot say "oh it is because he had autism and adhd, we should put them all in a prison so they cannot hurt anyone else". This way of thinking won't help us either. My daughter has mental health issues, she is more likely to harm herself than to harm others. I know friends who have children with mental health issues that can be violent and others that have never been violent. Yet they have the same disorders. We do need some way of helping them, some place they can go if they need to go, but we do not need or want to judge all of them the same way. 
 (image- Emilie)
There are no easy answers here and everyone needs to realize this. The best thing we can do right now, is sift through the problems and find a way to help everyone instead of punishing everyone. Think of it this way. You have a classroom full of students. One of them steals something off the teachers desk. Do you punish the entire class for one persons crime? No you don't and you shouldn't. There are people in our history that punished sects of people simply because they deemed them wrong or judge entire races of people simply because one of them were harmed by someone of that race.  (image- Grace)

We need to learn from our history and see that this kind of blanket punishment solves nothing. I know a lot of people who are responsible gun owners. They should not be punished for something they did not do and had no knowledge of. I know tons of parents with children that have mental disorders, those children should not all be punished because some children have violent tendencies
 (image- James)
Obama is on the right track that we cannot sit idly by and do nothing, this is happening all to often. We do not need to point fingers or make a hasty judgement on this. It won't change the fact that we lost nearly thirty beautiful people. (image to right- Jesse)

I am going to take this moment and think about little Emilie and her friends from this massacre . I am going to hope they are in a better place and that one day we can make things safer. I am going to shed a few tears and then I am going to hug my family again and tell them that I love them. I wish I could do more, I wish I could say more. I wish I had the answers, but right now none of us are absolutely sure what the problem was. I think the only one that knew that absolutely, took it to his grave.

 The following images are of Lauren, Mary, Nancy, Josephine, Olivia and Victoria. I am missing images and will upload them if they are posted online. May they all rest in peace. I also send love to the family and friends, as well as anyone else that is hurting from this great loss.