Demand A Plan: Newtown

This is something that we never discussed on here because it was probably too much for Shanti to even think about with a little one at home and well… I just couldn’t bring myself to write about it. I did however post pictures of the slain on our instagram and it started a back a forth about gun control. I personally, hate guns. I don’t want them in my house. I don’t want them in my car. I don’t want them around me. And I would never buy my Godson, niece, or any child for that matter a toy gun. Ever. I don’t want them being brought up to believe that shooting anything is fun or sport. I don’t want them playing video games that diminish their appreciation and respect for human life. I don’t want them believing that the living, breathing and loving, is disposable. I don’t. So, yes… I guess I am saying that these games, shows, toys and even our music play a huge roll in our children’s position on violence. I know many will disagree, and blame everything on parenting, but it’s both. Parents shouldn’t have to fight an up hill battle. But I digress.

 When we consider Newtown, we are not only forced to look at gun control but we are also forced to look at the mentally ill. This country, in my opinion, really has no idea how to deal with the mentally ill. We haven’t for some time. We drug them or cage them but in the same breathe say that they are precious and ‘special’. And I’m in no way saying that they aren’t but I am saying that in many cases, our treatment of and for them, does not improve their quality of life. It merely, silences them. We are not helping them. We instead seem to be praying that they stay to themselves and keep out of our way. Until, something like the tragedy  Newtown happens…

But then there is the issue with gun control. I know I’ll probably get my head bit off, but I’m going to say this next statement anyway. I’m getting to the point where I don’t think we should have the right to bare arms. I understand the logic but I’m also not from an area where I have felt like I needed to have a gun on me. I’m from Philly but it wasn’t popping off like that where I laid my head to rest. And even when I was down Broad and Erie or ‘down bottom’ I never thought having a gun on me would make me any safer. If anything, it would those around me at more risk. But this is just my logic.  I also have had young, innocent students of mine shot while doing their daily business. One on the playground swings. She survived but two other young girls did not. The other walking down the street, took a bullet to his hip while protecting his sister. He’ll never walk the same again. And the other while sitting in front of his own house. This bullet was indeed intended for him. You see, he was the coolest kid on his block so the rival block from down the street had to make an example of him.

We have abused this ‘right’ so much that it’s starting to make sense to take it away. At the very least we have to revisit and examine who qualifies to bare arms, what guns we have a right to bare, where we have a right to bare them, how many we have a right to bare, how often our permit should be renewed, the severity of the penalties for breaking these laws and get out of cahoots with the damn NRA since they fund half of Washington but that’s another story. And I know that many will be uncomfortable with my willingness to give up a ‘right’ but in the end that right is merely the battle and we are losing the war.

Imagine being a parent of any one of those children. Imagine being a parent of any of the children that you have seen on your television gunned down in your neighbor. Imagine holding their precious little hands, kissing their sweet faces and reminding to be good at school so Santa will bring them presents. And then them not coming home. Imagine having to clean out their rooms and put aside their art work and toys because the reminder is too much for you to bare. Imagine building a life for yourself and them and having it stolen from you. Imagine promising them to always be there for them and to protect them and failing to do so. Think about how your imagination would haunt you. Think about how these parents imagine their child’s last few minutes on this earth. I beg you to think of it too before you argue with my about being able to have some bullsh*t gun in your house. Imagine how terrified these teachers and children must have been staring down a barrel on a gun. Hear the cries. Feel the tears. Imagine all the things left unsaid. Imagine the regret of the parent that before they dropped their child off snapped at them for acting out or punished them that very morning. Imagine the regret of the parent that rushed off to work and used the carpool instead of taking their child themselves. Imagine their pain and despair. Imagine never hearing your child’s sweaky little voice or feeling their tiny little bodies hug you. Imagine no more bedtime stories and good night kisses. Imagine all the things left undone. The proms, the first pair of heels, the first kisses, the family vacations, the everything. Imagine life being cut short. Let it sit with you until you get human again.

The following has been shared from ABC News  

Noah Pozner, 6

  Noah Pozner and his twin sister, Arielle, celebrated their 6th birthdays Nov. 20. Arielle, who was in another class, survived.Pozner’s uncle Alexis Haller told The Associated Press that he was “smart as a whip,” gentle but with a rambunctious streak.Haller told the AP that Pozner called Arielle his best friend.”They were always playing together, they loved to do things together,” Haller said. When his mother, a nurse, would tell him she loved him, he would answer, “Not as much as I love you, Mom.”

 Emilie Parker, 6

  Emilie Parker, the little girl with the blond hair and bright-blue eyes, would have been one of the first to comfort her classmates at Sandy Hook Elementary School, had a gunman’s bullets not claimed her life, her father said.”My daughter Emilie would be one of the first ones to be standing and giving support to all the victims because that’s the kind of kid she is,” her father, Robbie Parker, said as he fought back tears, telling the world about his “bright, creative and loving” daughter who was one of the 20 young victims in the Newtown, Conn., shooting.”She always had something kind to say about anybody,” her father said. “We find comfort reflecting on the incredible person Emilie was and how many lives she was able to touch.”Emilie was a budding artist who carried her markers and pencils everywhere. Her grandfather recently died and Emilie paid tribute to him by slipping a special card she had drawn into his casket, her father said.Alissa Parker, Emilie’s mother, told Katie Couric she doesn’t know how to answer people anymore when they ask how she is doing.”I feel like the only way to move forward,” she said, “is to think about these beautiful children and their lives and be so thankful that we had them.”

 Jack Pinto, 6

“Jack loved school, reading, wrestling, skiing and football. Most of all Jack loved to play with his friends and keep up with his big brother,” his family said. “He had a wide smile that would simply light up the room and while we are all uncertain as to how we will ever cope without him, we choose to remember and celebrate his life. Not dwelling on the loss but instead on the gift that we were given and will forever cherish in our hearts forever.”
 Jessie Lewis, 6

Like most first-graders, Jesse Lewis was excited for the holiday season. The 6-year-old, who was in Victoria Soto’s class, couldn’t wait to go to school on Friday because they were making gingerbread houses, and his father had planned to join them. Jesse was killed Friday morning while trying to lead other children to safety. “He ran into the hallway to help when he heard the shots,” his obituary said. “His family knows in their hearts that was the way he lived his life — fearless, full of courage and strength.” The little boy who had the “perfect combination of courage and faith” was always ready for the next adventure.

Victoria Soto, 27

Victoria Soto, 27, loved being a teacher, her cousin Jim Wiltsie told ABC News’ Chris Cuomo Friday. Indeed, her first-grade students’ safety was such a high priority that Soto reportedly gave her life. “The family was informed that she was trying to shield, get her children into a closet and protect them from harm, and by doing that put herself between the gunman and the children,” Wiltsie said. “And that’s when she was tragically shot and killed. “I’m very proud to have known Vicki,” Wiltsie added. “Her life dream was to be a teacher. And her instincts kicked in when she saw there was harm coming to her students. “It brings peace to know that Vicki was doing what she loved, protecting the children,” he said. “And in our eyes, she is a hero.”

 Grace Audrey  McDonnell, 7

The artistic 7-year-old dreamed of being a painter when she grew up and living on Martha’s Vineyard. “We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from so many people,” her family said in a statement. “Our daughter Grace was the love and light of our family. Words cannot adequately express our sense of loss.”

 Catherine Violet, 6

Here is a statement from the family: “We are greatly saddened by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Catherine Violet and our thoughts and prayers are with the other families who have been affected by this tragedy.

 Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, 47

Hochsprung became principal of Sandy Hook two years ago and, by all accounts, was devoted to the students and teachers at her school. The moments Hochsprung came into contact with the gunman were heard over the school’s intercom and might have saved lives.

Mary Sherlach Sherlach had been a school psychologist at Sandy Hook since August of 1994 and had experience working on committees devoted to school safety, according to her website. Sherlach and her husband, Bill, had been married for 31 years and have two adult daughters.  Lauren Rousseau, 30 Lauren Rousseau worked as a substitute teacher before landing a full time position this year at Sandy Hook Elementary School. For the 30-year-old, it was a dream job. “We will miss her terribly,” Lauren’s mother, Teresa Rousseau , told the Delaware County Times. “And will take comfort knowing that she had achieved that dream.”
Olivia Engel,6 The 6-year-old was just learning the rosary and would lead the family in grace every night before dinner. Her favorite colors were pink and purple. She leaves behind a 3-year-old brother.
Rachel D’Avino, 29
Rachel D’Avino was a behavioral therapist who had only recently started working at Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to Lissa Lovetere, a friend who is arranging her funeral planned for Friday. D’Avino’s boyfriend, Anthony Cerritelli, planned to ask her to marry him on Christmas Eve. Police told her family that she shielded one of the students during the rampage.
Jessica Rekos, 6  Jessica’s parents, Rich and Krista Rekos, released a statement describing their daughter’s love of horses. When she turned 10, they promised, she could have a horse of her own. For Christmas, she asked Santa for new cowgirl boots and hat. “She devoted her free time to watching horse movies, reading horse books, drawing horses, and writing stories about horses,” her family said in the statement. The family described Jessica as “a creative, beautiful little girl who loved playing with her little brothers, Travis and Shane. “We cannot imagine our life without her. We are mourning her loss, sharing our beautiful memories we have of her, and trying to help her brother Travis understand why he can’t play with his best friend,” they said.
Ana Marquez Greene, 6
The 6-year-old, with her beaming smile, was the daughter of a jazz musician. She sang in a home video with her brother, who was also at Sandy Hook Elementary School during the massacre. The girl’s grandmother, Elba Marquez, told The Associated Press the family moved to Connecticut just two months ago, drawn from Canada, in part, by Sandy Hook’s sterling reputation.
Charolette Bacon, 6 
Charlotte dreamed of being a veterinarian when she grew up. The 6-year-old “never met an animal she didn’t love,” her obituary said. The lively first-grader also enjoyed practicing Taekwondo with her brother, Guy, and her father.
Daniel Barden, 7 Daniel was the youngest of three children, his family said in a statement. The family described Daniel as “fearless in the pursuit of happiness in life.” “Words really cannot express what a special boy Daniel was. Such a light. Always smiling, unfailingly polite, incredibly affectionate, fair and so thoughtful towards others, imaginative in play, both intelligent and articulate in conversation: in all, a constant source of laughter and joy,” the family said. Joesphine Gay, 7  Josephine Gay celebrated her 7th birthday Dec. 11. Friends and family describe the first-grader, who had a “joyful and giving spirit,” as “a gift.” Josephine had two sisters, Sophia and Marie. Friends and family have been asked to wear Josephine’s favorite color, purple, in her honor. Chase Kowalski, 7 “You couldn’t think of a better child,” neighbor Kevin Grimes told The Associated Press. Grimes told the AP that he was recently speaking with Chase and the little boy was telling him about winning his first mini-triathlon. Chase wanted two front teeth for Christmas. James Mattioli, 6 At nearly 7 years old, James Mattioli, who his family called ‘J’, loved to sing at the top of his lungs, ham sandwiches from Subway and being his father’s “mini-me”. “James was especially thoughtful and considerate, always the first to welcome guests at the backdoor with a hug and his contagious smile,” an obituary for the first grader said. And the first grader was caring, recently foregoing a gift for himself so he could use the money to buy his grandfather a mug for Christmas. Dylan Hockley, 6 The boy with the beaming smile was born in Winchester, England. The Hockley family moved from England to Connecticut two years ago and found Sandy Hook Elementary School to be a great fit for their two boys. “We do not and shall never regret this choice,” the Hockleys said. “Our boys have flourished here and our family’s happiness has been limitless.” Anne Marie Murphy, 52 Anne Marie Murphy was employed as a special education teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The devoted mother and teacher reportedly died with one of her beloved students, Dylan Hockley, in her arms. “We take great comfort in knowing that Dylan was not alone when he died,” Dylan’s parents told the Connecticut Post. Avielle Richman, 6 At the age of 6, Avielle had a “spitfire personality” and loved to tell stories, her obituary said. “She offered her heart to everyone. With an infectious smile and peals of laughter, people were drawn to her beautiful spirit, which will live on in all of our hearts,” the first grader’s family wrote. Avielle had a diverse set of passions, from music to archery and kung fu.
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
 Ben looked up to his 9-year-old brother, Nate. Before he left for school Friday, Ben told his mother: “I still want to be an architect, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that’s what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does,” his obituary said. He worked hard inside of the classroom, and brought that same drive to his extracurricular activities, swimming and soccer. “He loved the local soccer program, often running across the field long after it was actually necessary,” his family said. Ben, whose parents are musicians, had recently performed at a piano recital.
Allison Wyatt,6
 Allison had a knack for connecting with people, no matter how short of time she spent with them, her parents said. “She loved her family and teachers especially, but would often surprise us with random acts of kindness – once even offering her snacks to a complete stranger on a plane,” her parents, Cheyanne and Ben Wyatt said in a statement. The first grader loved to draw and taped rows of pictures to the walls in her home, turning it into her own “art studio”. “She loved to laugh and was developing her own wonderful sense of humor that ranged from just being a silly 6-year old to coming up with observations that more than once had us crying with laughter,” her parents said. “Allison made the world a better place for six, far too short years and we now have to figure out how to move on without her. She was a sweet, creative, funny, intelligent little girl who had an amazing life ahead of her. Our world is a lot darker now that she’s gone. We love and miss her so much.
Madeleine Hsu, 6 
Madeleine Hsu was a shy and quiet 6-year-old but she would light up around dogs. (Her family does not wish to make a statement in their grief)
Caroline Previdi, 6
 Caroline, 6 years old, was a first grade student at Sandy Hook Elementary School and a lifetime resident of Sandy Hook. She was a member of St. Rose of Lima Church in Newtown. She loved to draw and dance. Her smile brought happiness to everyone she touched. Caroline will be forever missed by her parents, sister, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and her many friends Dear God, may these angles rest in peace and find peace eternally.  

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9 thoughts on “Demand A Plan: Newtown

  1. Thank you for this article. I agree with you whole-heartedly! Gun violence that kills children breaks my heart. I teach Sunday School for elementary age children and I get so much joy from teaching them about Jesus and learning with them. I can’t imagine any of them being hurt like the Sandy Hook kids. Everything you said in your article is true and I pray after this, the government will get right and stop focusing on money in their pockets because of strict gun regulations. It’s evident we need it, because violence is rampant in our country and it appears all other avenues for change will continue to show violent images. I definitely was super emotional reading your article. Again, thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you for posting this. I read each profile and cried each time. My heart is broken. I cannot imagine what the families are going through.

  3. Hola Antoinette and Shanti,

    I would like to thank you for writing up and sharing a post like this. I’m not a mother (yet) and I pray daily that I will have the chance to become a mum. Ever since this horrific tragedy happen, I think about the torment the families are going through not having their loved one with them to not only celebrate holidays but the birth of Christ. Reading through each of their profile’s on your post brought back the sadness and tears I felt the first time I heard what happened in Newton, Ct. and watched the news that Friday morning. I continue to pray for the families and will continue to light candles over the souls that were taken from their families.

    Prayers and continued blessings to you both, Antoinette and Shanti, and to both of your families as well. I am a new visitor of your site and I am truly enjoying your content, keep up the great work!

    Paz y bendiciones,
    City Muse

  4. Having guns is something this country was built upon. Without them, this country would not be a country. Though this tragedy is sad, taking guns away from lawful citizens will do absolutely nothing to stop the problem.

    Guns are for our protection from dangerous situations But mostly from a tyrannical government were it to ever rise. And I don’t think we’re far off, especially if you do your research.

    I will be forever thankful that out forefathers and those who fought for this country to keep it’s rights in the firstplace. Violence from weapons has been around for millenniums whether it be from guns or knives or swords or rocks. Blaming the weapons is useless. Taking them away does nothing But strip people from protection and those who want to create violence WILL do so by any means necessary.

    • Hello, I disagree with you. I’m not blaming weapons. I have an issue with how easily a mentally ill and sick person can get them.

  5. Hey ladies! I love you guys to death! You always have something for me to ponder or a new hair tip that saves my life! Anyways, you guys do a lot with afro-centric products and alternative lifestyles and I wanted to bring this website to your attention. My cousin recently started her own import/ export business this past year which is green certified. Please check out her collection and let me know what you think! Shes been show casing her work at conventions all over the country and is really trying to get Safa Gallery out to the masses. Thanks ladies for all you do! Keep up the good work!!

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