Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Building a Stronger Community to Fight Hostility

Purple XMAS by Meeta K. Wolff

Interrupting your regularly scheduled posting ...

I am staring at the cursor blinking away on my screen as I am trying to piece my thoughts together. I had plans for this post … I wanted to wrap up my Christmas 2012 selection with a stunner of a soup. Then Friday happened and I am not sure how I want to go forth. 
Do I continue to post as I usually do?
Do I not post at all?
Do I share my thoughts, my pain, my worries?
Do I stay silent?

When I first heard about the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, I was on my way home. Soeren and I were in the car and we were laughing, planning a weekend of ice skating, gift wrapping and baking. As I turned up the volume on the car radio. I felt the wind punched out of my lungs. Was I hearing this correctly?

As the news was pieced together I did not think about the person who committed this heinous act. I did not think about guns or gun laws. I was horrified and shaken, placing myself in the shoes of those parents. They kissed their babies goodbye that morning, the same way I kissed my 10 year old. They probably made plans for the afternoon, for the weekend, the same way Soeren and I did. They probably used their lunch break to sneak into town and collect Christmas presents, the same way I did. You never … ever … think that you might not see your child again when you bring them to class!

I almost felt guilty reaching out for Soeren and being able to hug him … a little tighter than usual.
This Monday I decided to pay my tribute and remember the lost innocent lives of the Elementary School children and the brave teachers who lost their lives too early, with a day of silence. It was what I needed. By Saturday I had turned off the disturbing news on the TV and Monday was another way to shut out the noise and focus on what was important. That was the way I and many of my kind and generous blogger friends joined to pay our respect. My dearest friend Jamie decided to make her voice heard on Monday. She voices her opinion in her article “After Newtown” and nails the issue on hand, daring to ask bold questions. Please take a moment to read it.

The news began putting a face to the shooter, he had a name, he had a life, he too had parents. Only then did Adam Lanza actually became a someone. It was only then I began asking the question Why? and Who does this?

I totally support the cries that are currently being heard all over America to change the gun laws and legislation for gun ownership. It has to happen … it must happen. The Second Amendment is a fossil in our 21st century, becoming warped as time has passed, allowing anyone to possess automatic weapons in the name of freedom. The laws in America need to be changed from it's core. It will be a herculean act in a pro-gun culture like America but there has to be a starting point.

But I believe there is another level to these kind of issues and this level is not just an America-problem but a problem we as humans need to review within ourselves. It is the issue of becoming a stronger supportive society, of not shunning people out for being different or for having mental issues or for dressing differently or for not integrating into cliques.

We are often superficial with our behavior, pushing our kids to extremes because they have to stand their ground in an ever-competing society. They have to be better than their classmates, friends and neighbors kids to make the best of the universities to grab the top-paying jobs. We rob our children of their childhood by forcing them to be high achievers and are easily disappointed at their failures.

Not everyone can take that pressure. I have heard it repeated again and again “Adam Lanza snapped” I also hear his friend say that “up to that moment he was just another kid.”

This is absolutely NO EXCUSE or even trying to find reason for what happened. I am merely posing another level that needs to be considered. Just as the guns have to disappear from the homes, shooting ranges, basements, malls, schools etc. and gun culture need to be addressed,  in the same way we need to banish hostility, malignity or the extreme superficial world we have created around us by strengthening our children’s integrity. The time has come that we act as a strong community - together. In my opinion fighting this from both levels would be the “meaningful action” neded.

I hope it does not sound like I am preaching or that I sympathize with the killer, trying to find some sound reason for his actions. It is not my place to do so. My thoughts are with the parents this week who have to walk a very difficult path of laying their babies to rest one final time. I pray that they will find their peace and I hope with every pore in my body that there will never be another incident like this or a “next time” where the name of the killer is replaced but the story, the crime and the guns are the same. 

I owe you all a soup … a fairly stunning soup. But it seems rather trite. So, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Hold your loved ones close and enjoy each moment and light a candle for those who can’t this year.

Thank you for taking time and allowing me this space to vent my thoughts and speak my mind.

Merry Christmas!


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2012 Meeta Khurana Wolff unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

41 comments :

  1. A very touching, thoughtful and beautiful post. Such acts are not excusable. Our society is ill and it's time to cure it....

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. You say it so well - society is indeed ill ... and i seriously hope we can find a cure for it.

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  2. Thank you Meeta - I will add only my nod of approval!
    Happy Christmas with your loved ones and hold on tight.
    xox Karin

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  3. A thoughtful post Meeta - and the point that I have been mulling over since Friday too. There is (and should be) so much talk about gun control, but what is getting a little lost is the fact that tackling only gun availability is tackling only the visible and easily legislated tip of the iceberg. Far harder are the mental health issues, the broken family issues, the unchallenged addiction to violent roleplay video games and resulting social dysfunction. These are things that the government cannot legislate about, and these are the root causes of tragedies like this. Did you read the chilling piece by the mother of a child with mental health issues who was struggling to get help? http://gawker.com/5968818/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother Whatever you think of her parenting or her choice to post under her real name, NOBODY in a wealthy 1st world country should struggle to get help for mental health problems. Maybe if Adam Lanza had received the help he needed, this would not have happened. (and NO country should be selling freaking assault rifles to civilians, obviously!!)

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    1. There are several layers that lie deep beneath this one incident. Gun issues is just the tip of the iceberg as you so well put it. Thanks for the link to the article.

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  4. You make me cry Meeta, but that's all good. I sign every word, and this also brings me back to what happened in Norway two years ago. The questions are the same. What went wrong? How did a sweet, innocent, boy turn into something like this? Someone loved him og looked after him. This man used to be like my boy - 7 years old and looking forward to presents for Christmas. Playing with Lego and watching Star Wars. I cry for everyone involved in this tragedy and it really breaks my heart. A big hug to you and familiy! Hope to see you in 2013!

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    1. Kjersti - yes my heart went out to the victims of the shootings in Norway too! They all start out young and innocent ... what happens along the way to turn them into such monsters is something we all need to try and review ... maybe therein lies the answers.
      Hope 2013 will be the year we meet again!

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  5. You are always thoughtful and mindful in your writing. Expressing your opinions without stirring up a controversy. I respect that ability, Meeta. Controlled, focused writing isn't an easy feat, I know that from experience. I sometimes struggle with each word. Points can be made without offending personally. What one calls passion can be perceived and come across as vehement ramblings to some. Fortunately, it seems diplomacy comes to you naturally.:) Merry Christmas to you and your family. Shulie

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    1. You are a kind soul Shulie and thank you for this lovely comment. I had not realized it but from a person I respect greatly it comes as a fantastic compliment. I try and keep religion, politics etc. away from this blog as I want people to come together here as one. But there are times I cannot keep my thoughts and feelings away.
      Hope you had a good start to your year!

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  6. Very well expressed Meeta. Agree with you in everything you've said.
    Merry Christmas!

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  7. Very thoughful post, Meeta. As I mentioned in my post another thought that I can't stop thinking is that many elementary school kids don’t like going to school and I can’t stop thinking about the morning routine where some of the parents had to convince their kids to go to Sandy Hook only to encounter a parent’s worst nightmare and to find that they will never see their kids alive again.

    Many unopened presents, empty seats at Christmas dinner and parents living lives knowing that there is a part of them missing, forever.

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  8. SO so true... and so very well expressed. Most of the days something like this happens (the occurrence is gradually increasing nowadays) I feel preposterous posting a food post or a beautiful travel post. But a friend of mine just commented the other day that yes, sharing happiness is sharing hope. So we got to continue what we are doing. Wishing you a Merry Christmas in advance!

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    1. We all do continue in the end. But I still think it is important to address these issues and talk to them to friends and family, readers and listers. It's easy to share happiness but we have to be able to share our sadness too.

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  9. I really dont know if such things will ever stop. It hurts so much! I don't talk about it, I really don't know what to say or rather how to say. I agree with everything you mentioned Meeta.

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    1. Normally it's easy to open the heart and let it pour. :o)

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  10. Thanks for taking the time to write this Meeta. It's amazing how this incident has reverberated around the world. We do need to make change on many levels. So true!

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    1. It was so horrifying that it got the attention of the world. It's a two sided sword really --- on one side it is important to understand what happened and talk about it so that it does not happen -- but on the other side there might be another person just waiting to create a more hideous crime to top this one!

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  11. Thank should be make changes not make change ;>) Sorry about that.

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  12. Well said Meeta. I do agree that societies should be more supportive on many levels. A society where people have seriously contemplated giving guns to children so they can protect themselves is sick to the core.

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  13. One thing I am seeing here in America is that, since the tragedy in Newtown, people are doing all kinds of random acts of kindness for one another. Teachers are getting more support. Families are closer. A lot of people are giving up their (previously) closely held weapons in buy-back programs, and mental health is being discussed openly, like never before. Newtown has been a tipping point here. Despite the tragedy, this is a beautiful thing. We are a bunch of large communities, all grieving, and all trying to coming together and be good to one another, as well as work together to find solutions. Yes, you still here people fighting about gun ownership, but it's becoming more and more faint. I barely hear it anymore.

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    1. I still have my doubts that this will make such an impact and that gun laws in the US will change drastically. I have my suspicions that it will be shoved under the carpet and not tackled seriously enough. Yes the cries are louder but I fear they will be stifled with time.

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  14. Yes, yes, yes. Couldn't agree more. Thank you Meeta, for sharing your insights and your wise and sensible words in this extremely complicated issue. Let's hope things will change. They really, really have to.

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    1. They do! If this incident does not serve a basis for change I am not sure what will.

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  15. It is my hope that such senseless acts do not repeat again. I am hopeful that change will happen this time because it seems like people are more incensed by this massacre than the prior ones. I think it is our job as bloggers to persist in this message of intolerance towards violence/guns (such as this post) to continue to affect change. After all at the end of the day widespread change starts with us.

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    1. Yes it does start with us. I was hesitant to write this post but like you thought we all need to voice our opinion and this is the best platform. Thanks for the comment and your thoughts.

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  16. It is scary to think how the world is shaping in front of our eyes. These shootings, the scary rapes in Delhi. I sometimes feel I am glad I don't have a child yet because one cannot imagine the pain any parent has to go through when someone hurts their child. This post filled my eyes with tears.

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    1. It's a scary world to raise a child and it is hard to explain the dangers to children. You want to keep them innocent as long as possible.

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  17. The recent events has left me shaken,the shooting in Connecticut and the gang rape in delhi. I have a 2 year old girl, who i want to protect from this world. I cant even imagine what those parents are going, juts praying that these never happens to anyone else ever.

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    1. It is only natural that we want to protect our children. At 2 your child should not be aware of these hideous issues. Keep her away from all of this. As she grows older though it becomes the responsibility of the parents to educate and inform.

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  18. What a heartfelt post Meeta. I agree, we have got to voice concerns and find ways for a more peaceful way of living. I don't know what is more sad, the fact that children can own guns, or that some of them feel violence or killing others is the answer! What happened to Living Values, to love and to humane existence? These recent events are only a reflection on a deeply troubled world in which violence, weapons and brutality are constantly promoted, while values are continuously ridiculed and made small of!!!
    It is sad that we have to face a life where life is not celebrated, where we are unaware of our collective need for each others as humans and where we feel that we are segmented into small groups! Constantly looking for differences, instead of focusing on similarities and always finding the ugly, instead of searching for the beautiful!
    Our hearts go out to the mothers, fathers, loved ones, teachers, students, children... and everyone whose been affected. our hearts go out for this aching world and its good people. We can only start with our selves and our children and hope for a day where this world of ours sees light again!

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    1. Dima thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. I agree with everything you have said. As a mother I have encouraged my son to keep his values and stand up for them even if some of his peers make fun of it. On many levels it has been hard for him and as a mother I have watched his struggles ... but you know what? It has made him such a confident person and he is now realizing that it's cooler not to be a lemming!
      Celebrate life! Love that!

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  19. I completely agree with you Meeta! I think we need to be more accepting of people with mental disorders. They aren't very different from people with physical ailments and yet mental disorders are either kept hidden or people live in denial. Creating awareness and a culture of acceptance will allow people to become more aware of such conditions and seek the required help.

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    1. Let's hope that we walk this path and make the change.

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  20. This was very beautiful and touching post. I can't speak about a law in US because I'm a polish women living in UK but this tragedy hit me very hard as I am a mum too. When I read about this I was crying, I was looking on a sweet, little face of my sleeping angel and I just couldn't believe how it is possible? How a parent can live after loosing a child like this? Is this possible to live with enormous hole in your heart? How this man could look in children's eyes, in their little, scared faces and pull the trigger without any hesitation? My English is not good enough, hell, my polish is not good enough to express what I feel, just want to say that I sympathize with this families and that their loss and tragedy changed the way I see the world.`

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    1. Maggg - thank you for taking the time to make your comment here. These are all questions so many of us had. Unfortunately there will be no answers ... it is something no parent should have to go through ... putting their child to rest.

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  21. We all share your worries and your pain, as well as those of families of the victims... These holidays turned to be the worst ever for them and for all of us since we cannot enjoy our time while others suffer that much. Thank you for your beautiful and touching post.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta