Mayor’s message: can we have a national knee-jerk reaction?
It’s been awhile since we have been able to chat. With so much going on in the world it seemed only appropriate that I stick my two cents in.
First, I’d like to congratulate my fellow Shamongians (made up word) for getting through the Sandy ordeal. Damage in our town was minimal as compared with the Jersey shore and the folks in New York. Nonetheless, we were well prepared and our volunteers in the Fire Department, Emergency Services and Emergency Management did a great job responding to the crises. I’d like to extend a special thanks to the Shamong School district for allowing us to setup an emergency shelter at IMMS. In our previous storm experience, we learned the hard way that having a Red Cross shelter in Medford did little good for our residents when the roads were flooded and we couldn’t get access to it.
Then, in the aftermath, Sue Maus got this great idea that we should collect a few items to help the folks down the shore. The response was terrific and before she knew it, she needed some place to put all the clothes, toys, food, books and household appliances that were being donated. Our friends at Shawnee Baptist came to the rescue and not only allowed Sue to take over their gym but supplied lots of volunteers to help sort and pack all these goods. Their gym was literally filled with stuff. To those who generously donated, you’ll be glad to know that it all actually made it to shore victims through a church in Manahawkin.
So let’s see, what else has happened for the last month? That’s right, we re-elected the president for another 4 years. All I can say is thank goodness it’s over. I don’t think I could’ve taken another day of political sniping and commercials. I’d like to congratulate my colleagues on the township committee, Deputy Mayor Sean Gray and Committeemen Ken Long and Tim Gimbel on their re-election. It was well deserved. These folks have been dedicated to serving our community and your recognition of their service is the best thanks they could get.
That brings us to what should be a wonderful holiday season but unfortunately that happiness has been spoiled by the tragic events in Newtown, Ct. No words can express the shock that we as a nation are feeling in the wake of this calamity. There are many lessons to be learned here.
The first is that nobody is immune to this type of tragedy. Newtown is really Anytown, USA. If you look at the first names of the victims, this could’ve been our town (Charlotte, Rachel, Olivia, Dylan, Dawn, Jesse, Ana, Grace, Anne Marie, Emillie, Noah, Jessica, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Daniel, Josephine, Madeleine, Catherine, Chase, James, Jack, Caroline, Avielle, Benjamin and Allison). The name of the shooter should never again be mentioned.
Like everyone, I’m sure that I have been hugging my kids just a bit tighter since then (and you all know how my 18 year old son likes that). So what happens next? Our reaction as a nation to this tragic event will help define exactly who we are. What set of circumstances actually led to this happening?
Here is a Liza Long, a woman dealing with a mentally ill child every day.
First, I salute her bravery. It takes great courage to open your life to this type of scrutiny. It would be easy to blame these events on the guns. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s not the guns that are killing these people. It’s mentally unstable individuals who we as a society have decided to ignore. This is their way of saying they won’t be ignored. We need a national debate on how to deal with mental illness. We need to encourage mothers like Liza Long to come forward and ask for help when they see their child is disturbed. And we need to make sure that they get that help!
We can have a national knee-jerk reaction and try to ban guns. We’ve tried that with alcohol, we’ve tried that with drugs. How has that worked out for us? The shooter in Newtown broke 8 gun laws during his spree. Connecticut has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Sure, we can ban assault rifles. That’s not going to solve our problems and it’s certainly not going to stop these shootings. Do we need to have a better process to evaluate potential gun purchasers? Absolutely.
It’s already against the law to have weapons on school property. I don’t think the shooter cared. I can’t help but wonder what the outcome would’ve been if the principal and school administrators had been thoroughly trained and armed. Do you think this guy would’ve made it to a classroom carrying a rifle?