Sandy Hook, Parkland Still Claiming Lives
The mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are still killing people. Two survivors of Parkland killed themselves in the past week, and this morning, the body of the father of one of the Sandy Hook children was found in Newtown. And something like 35,800 guns will be sold today, if 2019 stats are comparable to 2018 sales figures. But cheer up -- without Barack Obama scaring everyone with his promise to take all the guns, that's down 16 percent from the highest gun sales in history in 2016. Then again, despite the lower gun sales, there were nearly 40,000 deaths caused with firearms in 2018. It was the third record year in a row. We're Number One.
The news has been just horrifying. On March 17, Sydney Aiello, 19, who'd been on campus at Stoneman Douglas the day of the 2018 massacre, killed herself. She'd been a close friend of one of the girls who died in the shooting, and had been diagnosed with PTSD, according to her mother. She had started college but found it hard to just to sit in classrooms because of her fears that a gunman might burst in. Then, this weekend, another Stoneman Douglas student, a male sophomore, as yet unidentified, killed himself -- like Ms. Aiello, with a gun.
Today, police in Newtown found the body of Jeremy Richman, a neuropharmacologist and the father of Avielle Richman, who was only 6 years old when she was one of the 20 children and six adults murdered at Sandy Hook in 2012. Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, had founded a nonprofit to research the neurological problems that might lead to violent behavior. The foundation had an office in the complex where Richman's body was found. The couple were also among the Sandy Hook parents suing Alex Jones for spreading the false conspiracy theory that the Sandy Hook massacre was faked as part of a plot to take all the precious guns away.
The lawsuit involving Mr. Richman and Ms. Hensel claims that Mr. Jones embarked on a campaign of "abusive and outrageous false statements in which Jones and the other defendants have developed, amplified and perpetuated claims that the Sandy Hook massacre was staged and that the 26 families who lost loved ones that day are paid actors who faked their relatives' deaths."
And now two communities are grieving all over again, wondering where this madness will end. We're all rolling out the phone numbers and website for suicide prevention -- 1-800-273-8255 and suicidepreventionlifeline.org -- because however bad this is, more death will not make any of this easier. We're wondering how many new members the NRA will sign up today. We're wondering whether we could have borne up under the loss of a friend or a child in yet another of our nation's regular sacrifices to the Second Amendment, and wondering when the next one may happen, because it will, because we are not, after all, New Zealand, which managed to ban all semiautomatic assault rifles within a week of its deadliest mass shooting.
We have freedom here, so even 20 first-graders being murdered was cause for more sales of AR-15s. The Parkland kids decided no help was coming from the adults, so they had to make their own change, for which they were demonized and mocked by a significant portion of the population, though not the majority, as if majorities matter. But it's hard to keep going, and the grief and the survivor's guilt were more than at least three survivors could take. We only hope that others who are losing hope will get help, and that those who may be at risk will have family and friends who guide them to help -- because help is there. And we all need each other to end this stupid stupid cycle of murder and grief.
The right sometimes blames mass shootings on abortion, portraying liberals as adherents of a "culture of death." We tend to dismiss that -- if there's a culture of death out there, it just might be the people obsessed with owning as many guns as possible, so they can kill anyone who's a danger to them. Or a culture that insists those guns are worth more than any child's life.
If you're struggling with all this, call the number. Go to the website. 1-800-273-8255 or suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Yes, this is all too much -- but we have each other, and no one has to face all this alone.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.