My Turn

Story published: 01-02-2013 • Print ArticleE-mail Story to a Friend

Politicians use tragedies to push their agenda

By Lacy Hilliard

Tomahawk Writer, Photographer

On Friday, December 20, twenty-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed his mother in their Connecticut home before forcefully entering Sandy Hook Elementary School and taking the lives of twenty children and six teachers. He ended his spree of violent terror by taking his own life.

On April 20, 1999, my junior year in high school, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado armed with bombs and firearms and ready for battle. Their massacre ended in twelve dead high school students and one dead teacher. Harris and Klebold also committed suicide shortly after they carried out their horrific crimes.

As a high school student at the time of the tragedy, Columbine shook me to the core. School is a place where children deserve to feel safe. For some children, school provides a sanctuary from a troublesome home life and for others, school lunch ensures that no matter the financial situation at home, one hot meal a day is a guarantee. Though I thankfully came from a stable home and didnít need school as an escape, I still felt a sense of security there amongst my peers. Columbine altered that faux sense of comfort and now, as a mother of an elementary school aged child, Sandy Hook has obliterated it.

Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook; the three deadliest school shootings in United States history, not to mention the recent Sikh Temple shooting and Aurora Theater massacre, have left many of us with a dark burden to bear and an ultimate question to answer, why does this keep happening and what can we do to prevent it?

It seems that no matter the tragic situation, politicians of every persuasion quickly jump on the agenda pushing bandwagon with little to no respect for the loss of the individuals or the grief of the families and the nation. Without conscience, they tug at our heartstrings and ensure the American people that they have all the answers, that their agenda alone can prevent these terrible tragedies from ever occurring again. That through stricter gun control, or less gun control, or armed guards (the list goes on and on) we will no longer have to live in fear.

For far too long we have allowed politicians to tell us how we should feel and react when horror strikes but the truth is, they donít have the answers any more than we do. It is human nature to demand answers when the unthinkable happens but no amount of investigation, reporting, or lawmaking will make the Sandy Hook massacre acceptable in the minds of the sane, any easier to live with.

Itís tempting to believe that one law or one regulation will make these acts of violence a way of the past but the problem is so deep seeded within the human race that it cannot be that simple. The only way to ensure a brighter future is to join together as a nation, ignoring each others politics and petty differences, and vow to do whatever we can to make this world a better place. Be vigilant and take the time to ask questions and follow your instincts when you get the feeling something isnít quite right. Petition your lawmakers and tell them how you feel rather than buying into the latest agenda pushing propaganda.

Sadly, senseless tragedies have occurred from the beginning of time and will likely never be a thing of the past. But perhaps by adding a bit of good to the world, we can cancel out a bit of the bad and inspire others to do the same thereby leaving the world just a little bit better than we found it.