Perry Hall Parents: Shock, Sadness After Connecticut Tragedy

While stunned at the tragic loss of young life in Connecticut, don't forget to hug your children.

There are no words to explain the . I'm unable to wrap my head around what happened.

Of course, I was lucky on Friday—I was able to hug my kids after school and count my blessings as I thought about their happy, innocent and unscarred childhood.

As a parent of an elementary school student in Perry Hall, I keep asking myself, "What is wrong with people?" and "How does a person's life become so dysfunctional that he not only turns on his family, but kills innocent children, while traumatizing so many others?"

How things like this happen, I don't think any of us will ever understand.

Sadly, when the Perry Hall High School student shooting happened a few months ago, I was shocked that it could happen here, in our small safe community. While unbelievable that it occurred within walking distance of my house, I could somehow understand how bullying or the emotional issues of a high schooler could elicit violence. No one wants violence at any school or community, but who could have imagined such tragedy at an elementary school?

We parents put our children on the bus every morning and we wait at the same location at the end of the day, somehow knowing we'll be reunited.

But today, while I waited for my son's bus, I cried.

I imagined the mothers who wouldn't be standing at the bus stop waiting for their young child to come home.

I sobbed at the pictures of the stricken community in Connecticut. And I feel heartbreak that we are truly never safe—in our churches, schools, malls, movie theatres—tragedy could happen anytime, anywhere.

As the President Obama said, "They had their entire lives ahead of them." The loss of life is just too much to bear, because the majority of lives lost were such young children.

Parenting is overwhelming at times and anyone can get wrapped up in the challenges that parenthood brings, but what if it were over?

We much cherish every moment.

As Perry Hall parents react to the tragedy, that sadly hits us too close to home, we can only hope to move forward with a less violent, more open society that doesn't have to resort to violence to solve problems.

There are no words to comfort the victims' families and there may never be answers as to why this happened. But I think I speak for everyone when we send our thoughts and prayers to all the families in Newtown. I wish them peace at this very difficult time.

Share your thoughts on the recent tragedy. Tell us in the comments.

Cliff Burris December 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM
In this country we have slowly removed God from our schools, over the last 50 years, and guess Who is marching in to take his place; and all in the name of "religious liberty". Why, even in this state of Maryland, we have "legitimized" Evil in the voting booths; all in the name of "freedom" and "equality" Why, God, Jesus, and the Bible...... that is just a Fairy Tale to a lot of people; something invented by a group of nomads, sitting by a campfire, under the stars in some Mid-Eastern desert thousands of years ago - Why, we are in the "Enlightened Age" and we know that Evolution and Equality is what is really important. But the bad side of this Fairy Tale; there's not going to be a "Happy Ending". The Ending of this Fairy Tale is: It is just going to get worse, worse, and more worse!!!!
Steve December 15, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Nail on the head Cliff.
... December 15, 2012 at 04:50 PM
This has happened in churches...care to share your enlightened reasoning for this?
Jean December 15, 2012 at 05:09 PM
God was never in the schools and he shouldn't be. When will you realize not everyone believes what you believe? This tragedy may be horrible and my heart bleeds for those parents but to say things are getting worse and worse is just a lie. Crime rates overall have been dropping steadily for the last century. If you are going to blame the removal of God for tragedies as horrific as this then what's your logic for the centuries of religious based violence? God won't save us. We need to come together and figure out solutions instead throwing our hands up and walking away when things get complicated.
Cliff Burris December 15, 2012 at 05:47 PM
To all the ones who have a negative response to my opinion, I would just say that when I was in grade school in the 1950's we prayed to God every day. And we didn't have to worry about someone filled with evil thinking, coming into our school and killing teachers and us. You are all entitled to your opinions and I respect them. But I don't see electronic technology, guards, or psychologists,etc. making our children and grand children any safer from a tradgedy like this, when the perpetrator has been programmed with an evil and warped mind. I was referring to voting for gambling in this state; but of course if someone doesn't believe that a particular action is evil, then it must not be evil to them...... but, of course everyone has a different opinion of what is right or wrong.
Mark Patro December 15, 2012 at 05:54 PM
I am planning a canfle light vigil in front of Perry Hall High School Sunday night at 5pm. Please come and join us. Bring a candle. We need to keep attention on this gun violence. It will not stop until we talk about SOLUTIONS to this problem. We are beginning to see fear in this country about going to school, going to church, or going to a movie theater. All of these locations have been the place of mass shootings this year. The frequency of these events are picking up speed. Mourning about them is something we do as a community, but we need to discuss prevention. Please come stand with us on Sunday ay 5pm
Tim December 15, 2012 at 07:32 PM
The only thing that's been removed over the past 50 years is good parenting and the dissolution of the middle class. God, who may or may not exist, has very little to do with this. Only insofar as individuals allow this belief (or not) to positively or negativity affect their day to day interactions with others. 50 years ago, the middle class largely consisted of only one parent needed to work to support a family. The people I work with, who make more then I do, generally have to work overtime on top of normal pay in order to afford to keep their wives at home as stay at home moms. It's crazy. I can (and have in the past topics over the months) produced statistic after statistic proving this. Trickle down economics has absolutely DESTROYED the middle class over the past 30 years. The facts are there for those whose minds aren't too warped to see it. However, this alone is only a primary contributor- a facilitator if you will. There are plenty of good dual working parents who still put their kids first whenever possible. It's a conscious choice to be active in your child's upbringing. (more)
Tim December 15, 2012 at 07:34 PM
(cont from above) Finally, at some point, mental health needs to be treated as seriously as physical health. When are we going to stop brushing mental disease under the carpet? My mother was diagnosed as bipolar when she was 18. Back then, they were only beginning to understand that something like this existed. It's too bad the science and culture wasn't the same for her mother, who "inexplicably' one day committed suicide via carbon monoxide poisoning. You show me a case like yesterday, and virtually all of them are caused by mentally unbalanced perpetrators.
Justin Fisher December 15, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I agree with Tim, we need to focus as much attention to mental health as we do physical health. As a psychology major who has briefly studied various mental disorders such as PTSD, Schizophrenia, Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly known as Multi-personality disorder), etc. The shooter could have any one of these, mental disorders can vary and all it takes for someone "to go off" can come down to the littlest things. Finally a possible theory on why he did what he did is because he was extremely angry with his mother, maybe even resented her and sadly the kids in his eyes were associated with his mother who was a teacher assistant at the school. (refer to http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/connecticut-shooter-adam-lanza-quiet-bright-troubled/story?id=17984172#.UMzataVvdSU 2nd video)
Jeanne December 16, 2012 at 01:45 AM
My son is in college but I cried on and off til I heard his voice last night. Today when he stopped by he let me hug him as long as I needed to and that meant everything to me. To the famlies that lost a child I am soo sorry you can't hug your child, watch them open their holiday gifts, watch them grow up. I pray you are surrounded by loved ones to help give you strength. I pray the same for the famlies who lost an adult.
FIFA December 16, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Tim, what you are leaving out is "with a semi-automatic gun". Amazing.
FIFA December 16, 2012 at 02:04 AM
But thank your god in the USA you can have a gun. That is simply sick and kills children every day.
Gregg Roberts December 16, 2012 at 08:39 AM
In this case, it wasn't a student who committed the violence. It may not be the best case for what happens when you take God out of schools. That being said, in response to some of the replies: The notion that God was never in schools or rather a level of religion is totally inaccurate. School started with prayer in the 1960's. In the 1800's religion was right up there with social studies and math in importance. I agree that one particular religion should not be taught. We can see the results of that in European countries; the children are taught to be narrow-minded and critical of people of other faiths. It also allows room for the harsh dogma that many religions conceal to be indoctrinated into children. I just saw a documentary where kids in some European country are taught that wearing a crucifix is idolatry and those who do will go to hell. They learn this in public school in second grade. So religion in school doesn't necessary lead to better people. Tim, Cliff: I can't share your doubts over the existence of a creator of the Universe although can appreciate your skepticism with organized religion. The removal of acknowledgement of the spiritual side of people and the sould for ''evolution and equality'' has however led to more brutal human beings..hardly progress. Gun control: OK but how about security at schools? Most including in Perry Hall don't even have air conditioning.
Eric Martin December 16, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Tim, you are all wet when it comes to economics. You need to educate yourself instead of throwing out cliches about "Trickle Down". Criticizing tax cuts as trickle down is a way not to confront the argument; however, there’s empirical evidence about the effects of tax cuts. During the Warren Harding administration, in 1921, Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon advocated tax rate cuts, which were enacted into law by Congress. Afterward, there was rising output; unemployment plummeted; and the resulting higher income produced greater federal tax revenues, even though the tax rate had been lowered. There were somewhat similar results in later years after high tax rates were cut during the John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations. The facts about the 1920s tax rate cuts are unmistakably clear for those who bother to check the facts. In 1921, when the tax rate on people earning more than $100,000 a year was 73 percent, the federal government collected a little more than $700 million in income taxes, of which 30 percent was paid by those earning more than $100,000. By 1929, after the tax rate had been cut to 24 percent on incomes higher than $100,000, the federal government collected more than $1 billion in income taxes, of which 65 percent was collected from those with incomes higher than $100,000.
Tim December 16, 2012 at 08:35 PM
and our economy was fantastic during the 90's under Clinton, dot.com or not, with tax rates fairly high. Your point being... All you need to look at the state of wealth allocation now, versus say 30 years ago. You know, the GINI numbers. They don't lie. There's a reason we have "that 47%". It's not because they are all lazy (although yes, there's way too much of that). I'm not even a big federal government size guy. Let's be honest greed exists and ruins operations everywhere - government and private industry. Greed wrecks everything.
Stacey Schantz December 17, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Jeanne, it doesn't matter how old your children are, this horrible event has hit every parent hard. It is so sad that the world is this horrible scary place. Our children are robbed of their innocence and childhood so early in life because we have to instill fear in them to keep them safe. My heart aches for the families in Newtown, and I'm watching the clock counting down the minutes until my son steps off the bus today and back.
Gary Staab December 17, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I guess there will be many discussions on what to do to keep violence out of the schools here in Perry Hall. Principals, administrators and law enforcment officials I'm sure will be discussing these issues today and for some time. But what can WE do as citizens to help? Can we volunteer to act as plain clothed security in and around the school property? Unarmed, of course. Maybe extra eyes watching for unusual or strange behavior outside the entrances and on the school campuses might prevent an occurance like what happened in Conneticut. Maybe retirees, people out of work, shift workers and others would be willing to volunteer and patrol the schools. I for one would be happy to share my time to help protect our kids.


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