Grief

Today is my partner’s birthday. We applied for our marriage license today. Plenty of reasons for joy. Lots to be grateful for. But I have to tell you–as a parent, a healthcare provider and a citizen of this country I am filled with grief in the wake of the devastation in Connecticut and that is coloring everything around me. It is time for a meaningful conversation about gun control once and for all. This madness had to stop.

We are a military family. We own a handgun. I am not advocating for getting rid of all the guns. But the correlation between access and gun violence cannot be denied. All of us who do this work know just how easily violence flows through our communities. We are witness to it. Every day. Why on earth do we as a country continue to make it not only easy, but efficient for people to take lives?

The NRA has a powerful lobby here in DC, but who will be lobbying for those 26 people, most of whom were kids between the ages of 5 and 10, who died in Connecticut today? My prayers are with those victims and their families, the first responders and medical staff treating the wounded, and the entire town of Newtown, which will forever be shaped by this horror.

Comments

  1. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Christine Herrman

    Well said, Jen.

  2. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Jennifer Pierce-Weeks

    All day yesterday I watched horrified at what those families were going through. This morning when I woke up I was lying in my bed thinking of those parents. I was reminded of a morning in 1999 when I woke up and my first realization was my husband had died. A devastating series of mornings are beginning today for those families trying to fill a void that cannot be filled. My heart breaks for them. But I pray the conversation does not get stuck in the silo of gun control. I don’t own a gun and gun control may go a long way in preventing tragedies such as these. But I do believe what will go further is a recognition that mental illness is real, and lack of services and coverage for those services is more real. We need to stop treating mental illness as the unworthy health step-child we can put in the corner and hope it goes away.

  3. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Jenifer

    You are absolutely right, Jen, it can’t be gun control in a vacuum, and it is high time that we prioritize mental health care. Beautifully articulated, my friend.

  4. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Cari Caruso

    I share in the sadness and also in the joy of your engagement.
    Peace,
    -cari

  5. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Mary Parker

    These weapons were registered and purchased by a legitimate gun owner.

    Rather than focus on the owning and access of weapons (which will just make access harder for legal persons only), I suggest we focus on the real problem: mental health.

    Mental health is highly stigmatized and access is very difficult, even for those who are motivated to seek treatment.

    Until we look at ALL aspects of this tragedy, needlessly focusing on a kneejerk reaction to a single element will not solve anything—especially when it happens again after we implement these changes. If it was easy to fix we would have done it already.

  6. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Jenifer

    Mary, thanks for your comment. I agree that mental health needs to be part of the conversation (as I mentioned in an earlier comment response), but I take exception with the characterization of the need to have a serious conversation about gun control as a knee jerk reaction. This isn’t a new conversation (at FHO or among my personal and professional circles) and the fact that the guns were registered and legal doesn’t change the importance of having a conversation that looks at how prevalent guns are in our society on a larger scale. This was an exceptional tragedy in a year of too many exceptional tragedies, and any honest reaction to what has occurred shouldn’t be dismissed as being knee-jerk. There is room at the table for multiple conversations.

  7. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Lori Kinley

    well stated Mary Parker.

  8. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Jenifer

    I think this is also a fabulous perspective (which I’m sure many of you have read by now, but is certainly worth posting): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/16/i-am-adam-lanzas-mother-mental-illness-conversation_n_2311009.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false

  9. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Leora harsh

    When will we, as Forensic nurses get involved in the government and say “enough”. Jen..love you dearly and miss our encounters.(My body dosent handle long meetings anymore.)I have been reading any and everything i can on grief, disenfranchised grief and how professionals are inpacted. I think IAFN should also address that aspect. AS for gun control, it is nuts to think that is a solution. Where is the outcry for the 3 kids of the same age as Sandy Hook , that are killed everyday due to DV and child abuse. I am in no way negating any loss and then is it ok that only 3 are killed daily? Are we so addicted to drama that we see only things when they become a gigantic issue? Then the knee jerk reaction is “oMG..gun control is the answer” Instead of looking at the mental health issues.

  10. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Jenifer

    Thanks, Leora for your comments. However, I will still respectfully disagree on the issue of gun control and add this perspective to the conversation: http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2012/12/17/now-is-not-the-time-to-talk-about-gun-control/

  11. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Leora harsh

    Thank you for the Katz piece. I still think the c ountry gets all fired up when something dramatic happens and we once again go into the knee jerk reaction of “OMG we must fix this NOW!”. This will go on for a long time. Then another disaster will take its place and it will be pushed to the back burner.Where is the steady work of addressing the sad mental health in our country…where are the news paper articles decrying the daily loss of innocent victims to DV.Oerhaps this will call more attention to the sad lack of services. But i dont think so.I am sure the news and movies will jump on this like a duck on a june bug for their profit.

  12. November 30, -0001 | 12:00 am

    Jenifer

    I think this post (and there have been many others on this same topic) also speaks to another issue in this conversation: that of masculinity and culture. http://thestartingfive.net/2012/12/18/manhood-crisis-at-the-heart-of-the-newtown-tragedy-part-i/