Remembering the Sandy Hook Tragedy Three Years Later

Monday, December 14, 2015
Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Three years later, and I have a difficult time expressing my thoughts on the horrific events of that day and events that have followed.

I can clearly recall being at the gym on that crisp, clear Friday in December. I was walking briskly on the treadmill watching Live! With Kelly and Michael when the local New York ABC affiliate interrupted to report breaking news. My hearts drops each time I see that "Breaking News" banner flash across the screen. What tragedy has befallen us this time? What heinous act has been committed now?

Nothing could have prepared me for the update I was about to be given. Children and educators gunned down in an elementary school in an affluent Connecticut town. I nearly had to grab on to the treadmill to keep myself from falling. My knees were weak, and I felt as if I was about to tumble. I hit the emergency stop button and watched in complete horror. I don't know how long I stood on a treadmill that was no longer moving. Five minutes? Forty-five minutes? I don't know. What I did know was that I was terrified.

I drove home from the gym in a state of shock. As a mother of two school-aged children, this was my worst nightmare. I planted myself firmly in front of the TV and waited for details. The details that unfolded in the coming hours, days, and months were grim. In total, six educators and 20 children died that day. Precious lives lost at the hands of guns.
The playground erected in Manasquan, New Jersey to honor Olivia Engel, one of
twenty-six victims of the Sandy Hook shootings.

I am proud to be an American. Each day I wake and realize how lucky I am to live in one of the greatest democracies in the world. I try to never take my freedoms and rights for granted, and I certainly try to never abuse them. I understand the importance of the constitutional amendments of the United States.

However, times have changed since the 1790s when most of the amendments were ratified. And it's time to review the 2nd Amendment. It's probably time to review some of the other amendments, but the 2nd Amendment is the most pressing considering recent events.

I don't know what the answer is. There has to be common ground. My dad was a hunter. He was a responsible gun owner, and as a child, I knew that my dad's rifles were his and only his. They were locked in a cabinet, and we were taught, at a young age, that they were not toys. We knew the many dangers that guns possess, and we knew that their purpose was not to harm another human being.

I do believe that the majority of those who own guns are responsible gun owners and handlers. Unfortunately, too often guns fall into the wrong hands, either legally or illegally. And when that happens, the end result is often fatal.

It's hard to feel safe anywhere anymore. My daughter went to the movies with her friends over the weekend, and I worried that a theater shooting could occur. The thought crosses my mind when I go to the mall, the grocery store, a concert. Where are we safe? Does the concept of safety exist anymore? Are we always at risk?

This is no way for any of us to live. In constant fear. Fear for ourselves. Fear for our children. The gun violence has to end. There has to be a better way to control it. Surely there's a better solution than what is happening right now. Less talk. More action. More steps in the right directions. Less lives lost.

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