The end of the innocence. The beginning of healing.

Our nation’s at a crossroads, where we must stop not looking at what is difficult and deadly, we must begin grieving again, and then we must heal ourselves by doing whatever is needed, no matter what it takes, to prevent future pain. Denial is part of the healing process. It comes after shock, as we process our grief. Next: anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. If left unchecked, denial can lead to unspeakable consequences.


For too long, we’ve allowed ourselves to stay stuck in denial, which gets us nowhere except to 20 children and 6 faculty slaughtered yesterday before morning snack break. For too long, we haven’t wanted our country to go through the growing pains of anger, bargaining and depression required to accept the challenge before us and the laws that must be changed in order to stop this. Whatever laws must be changed. Whomever has to compromise in order for that to happen.

We must reach a place where our children and teachers and heroes and families are safe, and where our mentally ill are properly diagnosed, cared for and, yes, contained, if they’re deemed a threat to society. Otherwise, we’re doing this to ourselves and our loved ones and neighbors, and we’re saying that’s okay. It’s worth the sacrifice, as long as we don’t have to look to hard or work to hard or face what we don’t want to.

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A common complaint about my fiction writing is that, though I’m a generally happy and entertaining person, my stories are heavy, my characters are flawed, and my plots are neither light nor easy to digest–no matter the happy ending a reader gets to enjoy once I’m through with them.

Yes, I ask my characters and readers to move past the easier issues and see the anger, bargaining and depression that is human nature when the hard stuff comes. I ask this of myself and my own family every day: that we process the difficult things instead of looking away; that we strive for acceptance and refuse to submit until we’ve arrived there.

This won’t be an easy journey. This path will take everyday heroes to complete. Just like my characters, my family, my readers and you are all capable of being either heroes or blind, passive, in denial quitters.

We cannot stay innocent and ignorant of the reality we’ve created in this country, where a madman with four guns and a burning need to kill children can smash through a window and a security system and destroy until his heart’s content and only stop when a SWAT team responds and corners him.

We cannot ignore the epeidemic of mental illness in this country that isn’t being dealt with because insurance companies aren’t required to fund treatment.

We cannot allow guns to be purchased in mass and not tracked and their use not curtailed in any way, because we’re so afraid and in such shock and denial and are bargaining for our our own personal security at the expense of innocent lives who cannot speak for themselves and shout their worth to us.

Can you hear the children screaming that they are worth more than our unrestricted freedoms and or corporate profits, and that they deserve to live longer than our carelessness, and that they would still be here if we’d accepted the job before us sooner…after the last public massacre?

I can.

Can you?


This is the end of the blind innocence that led us here. This is the beginning of the pain and the healing. This is the hope that gets me through and helps me process and shows me a way forward. This my challenge to you.

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4 Responses to “The end of the innocence. The beginning of healing.”

  1. Ranurgis says:

    As a Canadian who lived through the last part of World War II in Germany, though I can’t say I remember much of that since I was born in 1944, I have been, perhaps, even more involved with the lack of guns for protection. Then, too, Canada has always been a minimally gun-friendly country. My father was probably acquainted with arms of some sort during the war, but he either lost or handed in it/them before he came home, walking and swimming his way back from Russia.

    Neither Germans nor Canadians are particularly enamored of guns–though, of course, there are always some people who hunt and may use this as excuse to have a gun. The number of gun crimes in both countries–especially as regards mass shootings–are low, possibly because the populations are smaller as well. Canada has had two notable cases of university mass shootings, one all-women one in Montreal about 20 years ago.

    I’m sorry I got a little behind. One of the victims, Ana Marques-Greene, had just returned from Winnipeg, MB with her family. Her father, a jazz musician, had been teaching at one of the two universities there for the last 3 years. If it was the U. of Manitoba, the larger one, he was teaching at my alma mater. I grew up in Winnipeg where my family emigrated to from Germany in 1951 and some of us lived until 1971, while I lived in Germany for almost exactly 10 years, early Jan. 1970 to Dec. 18, 1979. While I was there, everybody else moved to London, ON where I live now.

    I have often wondered why so many Americans still hang onto that old “need to have guns for defense” thinking. Yes, there are crazies around and always will be, but why make it far too easy for anybody to get deadly arms. Maybe there also too many Americans that are so excited by gangster movies, deadly police chases in TV shows, all sorts of shootings from Indians to super villains and criminals; games in which the objective to shoot as many people as possible. Our parents refused to have even toy guns in our house; they knew only to well what damage the real ones could do. I’m not certain if the no-guns policy rubbed off on my siblings, but I can’t remember ever seeing any of my nephews (or nieces) playing with guns.

    I wonder, too, what it will take to wake up the majority of Americans to the imminent danger of all the guns out there. I don’t know if I’ll live long enough to find out. P.S. I didn’t have to teach any of my children: I never had any and certainly never gave any guns to any child.

  2. I think Americans have cultural disadvantages when it comes to dealing with violence in that we’re historically the people who couldn’t get along back home, or who were brought here by force. For much of our history, anybody who couldn’t get along was “welcome” to head west, and so here we are, the most diverse population on earth, without much shared history or culture, and few conflict responses besides flight or aggression. It makes constructive dialogue nearly impossible, and yet, that’s exactly how the founders got the ball rolling.

    And yet, you’re right. It’s time to get messy, creative, real, and determined. This has to stop.

  3. Copied here from my response to the FB conversation going on around this blog post–because I feel it’s worth repeating here. Thanks to everyone willing to have a calm, rational, frank discussion!


    The issue is pointing fingers, instead of intelligent debate and compromise. The issue is saying your way is the only way and everyone else is an idiot and ignorant. The issue is that this keeps happening, nothing of any substance changes, and yet we cling to our private liberties as if that’s all that matters. The issue is that we’re in denial–everyone thinks they’re right and no one’s looking at the reality that money is making these decisions for us at the national level.

    Both sides of our two-party system take money from gun and insurance super PACs. Both sides are in bed with the industries that have a vested interest in things remaining the same–corporate monsters willing to see collateral damage like 20 dead children and 7 teachers as acceptable, as long as the gravy train continues.

    Look at the TV commentary on Sandy Hook. Tell me if it’s worth it to you to only argue your rights and your opinion, so that a debate on the issues never happens and our leaders aren’t forced to make policy that changes this situation in any real way–all so your party or candidate will win the next election.

    Because I assure you, that’s where the decisions of the past lie. That’s what’s brought us to this place. That’s why all these innocent children and teachers are dead. That’s where we MUST first change.

  4. The mental health side of this:

    I emphasis. I have a cousin who’s grown son is similarly disabled. He’s institutionalized, and it was a horrible decision for his parents to make.

    But my argument continues to be, if THIS mother in Newtown knew her son was so unstable, what was she doing with deadly weapons on hand at her house? So many of them, clearly so accessible? How is that even a choice for her to make, given that everyone around her has now paid the price, and that more communities could be devastated tomorrow by the same miscalculation because our government isn’t insisting that individual gun rights are not more important than a citizen’s rights not to be killed by someone else’s irresponsibility with their guns?

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