Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wishing for Peace

Childhood can be wonderful mix of amazing moments and messy, difficult moments.  This is why my writing mission statement is: write stories about the brilliant uphill climb out of childhood.  But that climb should never include the kind of pain and fear that the children of Newtown are experiencing.

The beautiful thing about children is how resilient they are during and after tough times.  As a former Pre-K and Kindergarten teacher, I saw many kids in my twelve-year career who bounced back from an unfortunate circumstances with spirit, forgiveness, and wisdom.   

As we watch this story unfold, it’s clear that the children, teachers, school staff, and families need our love and support as they grieve in their community.  And as we grieve with them, we'll feel sadness, but also maybe anger and frustration.  If, like me, you’re wondering what actions you can take to help end the culture of violence that is at the root of these incidents, here's a list of people and organizations who you may want to consider following or donating to:

CNN - Impact Your World
This page/article includes links to the Red Cross and Newtown Youth and Family Services, which are also below.

Red Cross
Newtown Youth and Family Services

They currently have a group condolence letter for Newtown that you can add your name to.  On Twitter you can follow them through @clgoddard or @wecandobetter12.

Dr. Drew offers advice on how to help someone struggling with a mental health issue and advice on how to process your feelings.

I'll continue to add links and helpful sources as we learn more.  I wish us all peace as we process the details of this devastating event. 


On January 14, 3013 community members and parents associated with Sandy Hook Elementary School announced their organization, Sandy Hook Promise.  They are committed to honoring the lives of all children, teachers, and administrators who died at the school.  They are also a support group committed to healing, as well as common sense action that will help end tragic events like the one they've experienced.  To learn more, click on the link embedded above.


  1. Thanks, Rhonda. As a member of a family that is active in hunting and shooting sports, this kind of behavior sickens and saddens me. I believe that we have the "right to bear arms," but I also believe that MANY are pushing that right to its limits.
    I do not believe that ordinary (non military, non law-enforcement) citizens need to or should own military-grade automatic weapons. Hunters don't use these types of guns for hunting, so anyone who is trying to protect their rights to own an M-16 or an ouzi (or whatever), and saying that they are protecting their hunting rights is full of shit.
    OK, not that the type of gun matters. People who commit these crimes are obviously VERY disturbed and have lost their sense of reason, and the type of weapon they have available is not going to stop them. But perhaps if all he had to use was a handgun instead of a machine gun, the loss of life would be less. Not that is makes it any better.
    I don't know. It's a really touchy subject, and there are good arguments on both sides. But most of us who own and use firearms are responsible and mindful, law-abiding non-murderers.
    I believe the issue is more of a broader societal mental health issue than a gun issue, but yes, there needs to be some sort of line drawn.

  2. Thanks for this great post, Rhonda.

    I agree that this issue is much more about recognizing and diagnosing mental health issues than gun control. I pray for the families and hope that some day soon we will live in a world where people realize that no problem can be solved through guns and suicide.

  3. Heidi and Chasing the Crazies - I appreciate two great writers sharing their thoughts. Conversation (communication!) is the most important tool to use in understanding each other, and I'm grateful you felt like sharing your views. For the record, I do think gun control and gun education are pivotal parts of the movement to end violence. It should not be easier for a young person to get access to a gun than to find and receive mental health care, and currently it is. I support second amendment rights, but feel our laws must be viewed within the context of our modern society. We can't just address mental health and ignore the role the guns play.

    There are many things that have helped shape my opinion and beliefs, but three are personal. First, I grew up in hunting household where all guns and ammunition were locked and inaccessible. Second, when I was in fifth grade a friend was killed when he and another boy found and played with a handgun. This deeply affected our community, and my forthcoming novel Roll includes a bit of this experience. And finally, I was a teacher in Northern CA in 1999 when a shooter entered an LA community center during summer camp and severely injured four children and the receptionist. The police suggested there may be copycat attacks, and our school quickly enacted strict security guidelines and installed many security devices. A few weeks later, we started school feeling deflated, but also on-guard. This wasn't the first or last time in my teaching career when the threat of violence put the teaching staff on edge. Sadly.

    I think a well-rounded approach will ensure that all voices in this debate are heard, but ultimately we must be committed to teaching our children that using a weapon or any violent action to solve a problem or express emotion weakens us, and that when we make non-violent choices instead, our power expands and makes us limitless.

    May we all be moved by Newtown and begin to build a secure, loving new world.