It is four days since the mass shooting in a school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The USA is coming to terms with its loss and looks set to finally make some changes regarding its gun laws. Whether or not it will is still debatable. There have been so many mass killings in the US in 2012 but the death of 20 such small children, in one single incident, is beyond belief. But for some very heroic people on the ground the death toll would have been so much worse.
How do people pick themselves up after such a tragedy.
Simply leaving your child at school could be a terrifying ordeal even if your child was not a pupil at the affected school. Those families that have lost one child will be loathe to ever be parted from their other kids. Funerals are unpleasant events at the best of times. If the person has led a full life and died a natural death it is at least the way of the world. If they have died in traumatic circumstances it is devastating. If they were a young child who was killed it is unbearable.
Throw the fact that Christmas is just around the corner into the equation and it is worse still. Such a tragedy is never forgotten and will mar future Christmas celebrations no matter how hard you try to move on.
As the funerals begin it will be one long grieving process for the loved ones, local community and the country. Away from the area life will get back to normal as it has to. You have to move on or go under. For those immediately affected it will be a long, long process.
Tales of heroism abound. Those who put the pupils safety before their own. The first responders who faced such a gruesome job. Probably nothing which they have experienced so far in life could prepare them for that.
If there had been guns on site to respond with could the tragedy have been averted? No. It would have been a gunfight with casualties and deaths.
These days counselling is available for as long as it takes. It will take some people longer than others. If a six year old child of a family meets such a terrible death it will affect aunts, uncles, nephews nieces, friends, sister, brothers, parents and more. After such as event in Dunblane Scotland a terrible sadness descended on the area. The people wanted to be left alone to cope with their grief. That time is here for Newtown, Connecticut.
The constant media presence and rolling news reports will be like salt being rubbed into an open wound. There comes a point when any more news stories of the event are just sensationalism and infringing on people's grief. The remaining pupils of the school will not return to Sandy Hook. It will take more than a new school for their confidence to return though. Any death of a loved one can leave you initially coping OK only to leave you crumbling in a few days, weeks, months or years time. Help is needed for the long haul. Interference is not.
On a final note the major challenge for the USA is how it addresses its gun culture. Countries such as the UK and Canada have strict gun ownership regulations. People will argue that criminals have guns but none of the recent shootings in the US have involved illegal guns. Instead they have been legally held guns which have been used illegally. That is an important point to remember.
The latest news is that President Obama has backed a ban on assault weapons. That is at least a start but will it be put into law? Some who have money tied up in gun firms are pulling out also. That is all to the good.
Now it is time to let the people of Newtown have peace and time to come to terms with their grief. It is time to leave them alone.
RIP, condolences and thoughts.