From the ashes of terror sometimes rises a new hope for humanity. Sometimes it is through ruthless violence that the twine that holds all of humanity together is tightened. It is in sorrow that the masses are brought together by a common feeling felt among everyone; uncertainty, fear, and anxiety over where the future is heading. In this togetherness, a togetherness that I sometimes wish would never have to be observed, new ideas are formed for the bettering of tomorrow. Sadly, this change is not initiated until innocent lives are used as an unfortunate example.
In the wake of Newtown, 20 desks with scented erasers and Ticonderoga #2 pencils will forever be empty. 20 beds forever yearning for the warmth of a body lying on top of them. 20 children’s lives that have been stripped prematurely from this Earth, removing all the hopes and aspirations these children may have had. Turning out the lights on futures that until that fateful day had shone so brightly.
Six. Six teachers who will not have the pleasure of another first day of school. Six families who lost a husband, a wife, daughter or son. Six lives lost attempting to preserve the lives of countless five and six-year olds. People destroyed for doing a job that they loved; mentoring the youth of America.
One. One man with a desire to cause pain. One idea that was carried out in an average, small town elementary school; a school not so different from the one that we all attended growing up. One man who will forever live in infamy, not to be judged in this world by myself, but to be judged in front of the great creator whose scale is easily tipped by the heaviness of unneeded and uncalled for sin.
But there is more that has come out of Newtown.
Newtown has left the nation debating the use of guns. It has become a battle between the constitution and the people. American’s have the right to bare arms, but what kind of arms? It is an argument that may cause change, and it also may not, but at the end of the day, this is now a major discussion. America is beginning to reexamine its’ own values which for some is a long needed endeavor, while others remain happy with the status quo. Some ask, “why do you need assault rifles?” Others then answer, “It’s not guns who kill people, people do.” It is a debate as old as time, but after Newtown, it is a debate that is going to be settled. By re-examining gun laws, we may ensure that another 26 families will never again have to mourn.
Newtown has also brought mental health issues to the forefront. It is a topic that has been looked over almost my entire life. Barely discussed in the news, and not spoken about in government very often either. Adam Lanza’s mother knew her son was ill, but she had nowhere to turn. Having a mentally disturbed son could have the propensity of ostracizing them from the neighborhood. Newtown left America pondering the ways in which we view mental illness. We have begun re-examining the stigma we have often attached to it.
The role of the media has also been called into question. As always, with these kinds of events, the media is chastised for seemingly appearing to have no sympathy for victim’s families. But Newtown also revealed something else; the media’s yearning for getting the information first despite the possibility of this information being incorrect sometimes. The media continually speculated and put information on air or in print that just was not correct. The balance of timeliness and correctness has become a reason for the media to look at itself and decide which is more important and how to better balance the two.
There is no way of bringing back any of the lives lost in Newtown. Death draws a firm line in which mortality constantly walks along. Once this line is crossed, however, death rarely releases its’ cruel grasp. These lives live on though in this tide of possible social change. As society begins to look more closely at itself each lost life becomes more alive. With each new law or act of awareness, a life is symbolically brought back into our world. These lives live on as long as we ensure that their demise was not for nothing; that their loss of life will be the basis for saving others. Nothing will ever make it right, but we would be doing them a disservice if we neglect to initiate change in the memory of those lives gone, but never forgotten.