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In remembering the shooting in Newton, Connecticut, I have had a chance to observe the affects it has had on the community where I live. I live in Battle Creek, Michigan, and while this city is not a place where ‘everyone knows everyone’, chances are many people know plenty of others. We do not have the small village feeling, but it definitely is not like Detroit, either.

Jump back two days ago, to Thursday. I was enjoying a hot soak in the bathtub, when I heard an announcement broadcast from the radio station where I was listening to Christmas tunes. Every public school district in the immediate Battle Creek area (there are four of them) had cancelled Thursday nights events and school on Friday. Apparently, there had been some threats made against at least one of the schools, and school personnel were concerned about the children’s safety. All the school districts have rallied together to come up with a plan to increase students’ safety during school.

Also, there was a winter weather advisory issued because of bad weather that was looming over Lake Michigan (we never saw much here), which was convenient since Friday was the last day of school before the kids started winter break…hmm, an easy decision to make.

A few minutes after the announcement, I received a phone call from the school with a recorded message. It basically repeated what I had just heard on the radio. All I could think was, “Huh.” While I was not directly linked to anyone involved in the tragedy in Newton, as a mother, the story did pull at my heart strings and play with my emotions for a few days.

Now, more talk has surfaced regarding gun laws and gun control. Seriously? The gun is not the problem. It’s the people who are allowed access to the guns. While there should be some time of gun law reform and close monitoring, making guns less accessible is not going to eliminate the problem.

I recently heard a tidbit of information from a friend of mine regarding Switzerland’s crime rates and how many people could carry guns in that country. So, I researched the information. It was quite informative, to say the least. Click here for more information about Switzerland.

Back to school security…how much will things truly change, as a result of the tragedy in Newton? Public schools face budget cuts (as they build multi-million, ‘state of the art’ buildings, mind you), so where are they going to find the money to install metal detectors in every public school building, as well as add or increase security? Metal detectors will not protect the children once they leave the school building, just as an elementary school is not the only place a mentally disturbed individual can kill 20 kids.

The truth is, there is little that can be done, and no matter how much money is invested, the problem will always be lurking somewhere. Just like child sexual abuse, there will always be occurrences. Just like the war on drugs, there will still be drugs somewhere.

My heart goes out to the families of the victims in Newton, I really do feel bad for them. No one wants or plans to say good-bye to their first-grader like that. We live in a brutal world, and we cannot control the inevitable. We could home-school our kids, but will that prevent them from being hit and killed by a drunk driver while they ride their bikes outside? There are so many ‘what ifs’ and no guarantees in our decisions.

Live each day as if it’s the last. Love like you have never loved before. Hug your children, even when they say, “Eww, Mom stop it!” After we our stripped of our power, our possessions, and our merits, the only thing that is left is love. No one can take that away from you. The loved one may not be there in physical form, but none of these parents will ever lose the love they have for their children.

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