Hi friends, I had a post scheduled to appear today but in my heart it just didn’t feel right. This shooting in Florida has hit me really hard. As a mother and citizen of our wonderful country, I am grieving for those families who are dealing with the unspeakable, losing a child, a husband, a father in the aftermath of another horrific school shooting. Here is my letter that I posted- But as the details have come out, I have become more enraged than ever seeing just how many omens and signs were there for all to see but somehow this monster was allowed to fall between the cracks and was given the opportunity to commit this horrific crime. I wrote a letter on Instagram yesterday because I found it hard to get back to posting the pretty pictures I so love to post, it made me feel vapid and shallow to go on with things as usual. I know we all have different ways of dealing with grief and sadness, and I am most certainly not judging but for me personally I just needed to honor those innocent lives and their families by “venting”. I thought my blog might too be a good place to start a conversation and share ideas on what we can do to as American citizens who need this to stop. Some will agree and others may not, but I want to think that we can all agree to disagree and respect one another for our opinions and beliefs while remembering essentially we all want the same thing- a peaceful nation, one where our kids can go to school and not fear that they might not make it home. We have become a nation of fatalism, where we have grown to accept that these incidences are tragically, part of the society we live in. We talk about keeping these people in our thoughts and prayers but in a day or two, life goes back to normal and so it goes on. _________________ My thoughts- Every school needs metal detectors at every entry point (and there is no reason to have but just a few for day to day access) , there is no excuse to not have these in place immediately. It might not be foolproof but it will be a deterrent. Think about it- it could do double duty, it could also be a powerful tool in taking “attendance” and keeping track of those who come and leave the school (especially high schools students). There could be an app that they could swipe that would take their attendance and aid in protecting the school from anyone bringing in a weapon. Gun control– this needs to be overhauled dramatically. No 18 year old needs to or should have the right to buy an automatic weapon. When politicians say that taking away gnus will not change this or that they can still find a way to buy guns, I say this- when there is a treatment for cancer, it will not cure all patients but it certainly does cure a fair share and aren’t those lives worth saving? Same for gun control, it is not going to irradiate every shooting, but it will, as other countries have proven greatly reduce the number of incidences/casualties. We don’t stop looking for cures for cancer because it’s better to save some lives than none at all. In the same vein, we should be relentless in our pursuit to amend current gun laws if it means saving lives, pure and simple. Yes, gun control will not irradiate these shootings but it will make access harder and will decease the occurrence of these horrible school shootings. Our gun homicide rate is disproportionately so much higher (as much as 50 times) than any other industrialized nation. Why? Because of our gun laws and how many people have access to them. Just one look at other countries who have greatly changed their gun laws after horrific mass shootings and relentless public outcry, the numbers speak for themselves. In each of those countries, the mass shootings have done down dramatically. It is a pretty simple equation. Look up and read about the UK, Scotland, Japan and Australia. If the gun laws won’t change then the vetting process needs to be greatly amended. We don’t require a gun license, how about not only required a gun license but in addition to the criminal background check, having congress put into place immediately some kind of database with regard to mental health risks, I know with HIPAA laws that is gray territory but polices must be broken and/or amended to save our kids. See something say something. We as a culture have become so numb and so careful to not offend, so obsessed with being politically correct that we turn a blind eye. It has become a culture where we look the other way and not involve ourselves, we have become a selfish country. There were so many clues here, so many people saw this coming from neighbors, to people on social media, his family and teachers and fellow students. Where was the breakdown that allowed him to walk freely, plan and execute what had to have been a carefully laid out plan. All social platforms should not exist until they can take the responsibility to more closely monitor the content it publishes. Whether it is increasing their “watchdog” groups to scan and recognize the messages of hate filled promises of violence and report it to authorities. You Tube, Instagram and Facebook all had extremely distributing content on their platforms that for the most part nothing was done about. These postings, until the day this happened in fact remained on their sites, his promises and messages of violence and shooting people, the plan was there for all to see. Doing whatever we can to help remove the stigma of mental illness. It is not a choice, but it is like any other illness, an illness that some are born with. I cannot even pretend to say how to go about this but I am all ears and would be willing to do my part, whatever that might be. The default answer for many when these shootings happen is blaming it on mental illness, while that is a huge part of this, it is the weapon that caused so many to perish. The combination of mental illness and owning a weapon is a lethal combination. How is an 18 year old able to buy an assault weapon but cannot buy a beer? It is ludicrous! I know there are no “sure things” but I think we can all agree something must change. We all need to do something whether it is writing our local congressman and/or public officials, if and when we see something or someone that is “off” or we feel is not right, we cannot be afraid to take action. We owe it our children and our country to do this so this madness can stop. No child or family should have to endure such an unthinkable pain ever again. Our country is better than that. _______________ Would love to know what you think. You do not need to agree but I do ask that everyone comments in a civil and respectful way in a way that will honor the victims and their families. Please share your thoughts and suggestions, so we can all learn from each other:) Knowledge is power! Thanks for stopping in, I know so many of you come to my blog because it makes you happy (as it does me) and it can be a nice getaway from reality and I promise that on Sunday, things will get back to normal. I just felt compelled to write this post and vent a little, the sadness as the young faces and names have been released has overtaken me and I feel I need to practice what I preach, not hold it in, not be afraid to express my feelings but to put myself out there, to speak up when something is wrong.