Overwhelmed by an Overwhelmed Sister
Suicide Threats after Love Is Gone

Too Many Tragedies on My Mind

As I go about my life, enjoying the peacefulness of winter break, I can’t help but feel the tiniest bit of pressure on my heart from two gruesome tragedies. The unbearable sadness that must now weigh down the mothers and fathers who lost their children in Sandy Hook Elementary School and those whose daughter was so viciously abused and killed on a bus in New Delhi, have, for a time (hopefully forever) become part of my awareness. Another layer scratched away from the perception of goodness and innocence that we are born with, but live with so very briefly.

Knowing that we live in a world that contains such commonplace cruelty is unbearable. There is never a moment untouched by its opposite: tenderness-cruelty, kindness-malice, succor-hurt, yes-no—love-hate, right-wrong.

Guns. The sold-out stocks of rifles appalls me, but shouldn’t. It is all a continuum from the place that breathes from the heart to the place that suffocates hearts.

Who gives and who taketh away?

How do we live so exposed moment by moment to the flipside of whatever good we try to be?

Rape. Women as spoils of war. Women as tools of war. Women as carcasses for the needs of the perverse. Women unable to fulfill their destiny to be loved.

How is the word innocence still in our lexicon?

It is hard to know what to do besides cry and feel the echo of the hollowness that the grieving parents must be living within.

How does the world take away a mother’s child, a father’s child?

There have been so many other tragedies of incomprehensible violence in our lifetimes (even if we are only a month, a week, a day old), and yet I have continued to sit and cry and turn the page of the newspaper to the next story. But I don’t want to. I am ashamed that this is my world because as much as it doesn’t reflect me, how can it not? What is a world—a conscience—composed of if not all the assemblages of dust? It is all too much.

I cannot settle for signing petitions and donating as a reaction. My heart will beat with that emptiness, but it must be accompanied by more purpose than merely conviction. I need to be able to face my daughters and my students, my self, not as a complacent adult, but as one who cares more for them than comfort of habit. There is what to do, and do I must.


“Gimme Shelter”: This song might have come out of the Vietnam War, but it resonates so forcefully today—in this battlefield we live in.

Guns Do Kill: “Another Day in the (gun crazy) USA” and Slate’s tally of the people killed since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School at nine in the morning on December 14, 2012. 


Margaret Lesh

Another layer scratched away, indeed. We all bear the scars of man's inhumanity and brutality towards others. The New Delhi rape victim's story has been shared widely online, and it should be. Enough violence and brutality against women! Enough.

Maybe we all need to take to the streets and let our voices be heard. Maybe we need to carry the stories of those who have been victimized with us so they're not forgotten. Maybe that is part of our burden.

I wish I had an answer for you. You are not alone in your grief.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Margaret, the brutality of both acts are just so devastating. It's as if the place of ordinary life has become a war zone. This seems to be my call to action. Grief is not allowing me to turn the page. There are no answers, are there. How can there be? Why should there be? What a brutal world we live in if we can understand such cruelty.


Tragic events indeed. It is hard to even look at the faces of those poor babies.

Sadly, people kill people. We need to allow teachers and school personnel to carry weapons. Obviously, they would need to be trained and registered. But we need to have adults who are able to protect our children. We need to be able to protect our families. Bad people will not cease from killing just because we eliminate guns.

This country needs to make so many changes. They need to make criminals really pay for their crimes. We need to have a fast track to death row for anyone that kills children or rapes women. Enough is enough.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Womann

I absolutely disagree with you regarding arming teachers and school personnel. I don't see how it has come to pass that teachers are responsible for dealing with all of society's failings. Mental health. Gun control. That is what needs to be dealt with. Not more guns and certainly not more guns in an environment that is for children and supposed to foster their love of learning, not their fear of everything around them.

Death row. Again, I disagree with you. Such a cruel society already, why make it crueler?


Ok, everyone has an opinion. I am curious though, when you look in the face of the parent who has just had their child killed by a monster, what do you tell them is fair punishment? He gets to live the rest of his life with taxpayer's (aka, them) paying his bills in prison? Really? Please tell me what the fair option is? Someone rapes women and kills babies. They deserve to live?

No, teacher's are not responsible for dealing with all of society's failings. However, they deserve to live in the same world we live in. The world in which guns are allowed to protect. If I were a teacher, I would appreciate that responsibility and that right.

I do not want to argue with you but I want to truly understand how you feel the way you do and how you justify it. You might could change my mind. Please try. But, first, have you ever been raped? Has your child ever been murdered?


I can answer yes to one of those questions so maybe that is why I feel differently than you.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Womann

Kay, thanks for your questions--you're making me really think out what I feel and believe.

Regarding your question about rape, yes, I was raped. It was a date rape, very long ago, and I tend to put it out of my mind because, and I know this is wrong, I blame myself. There was no violence involved, "just" having done to me something that I did not want or invite or participate in.

Thank God and whatever else there is to thank, I have never had to live through the murder or death of a child.

As a teacher, I can honestly tell you that I believe I would stop teaching if I was required to be armed. It is just a horrible expectation to put on a person. The police are armed because they take it upon themselves to protect people. I am here to teach, to excite with learning, and there is no way that I could be compelled to take up a weapon, nor should I be. Give me a better lock on my door. Shatterproof glass. Lock the doors of the school. Get the guns off our streets. There is so much that could be done before the nurturers should be forced to be harmers.

Besides, in this environment (high school, where we do have an armed policeman, but he cannot be everywhere) it would be dangerous to have so many weapons around. Not all of the kids are stable. It would make school more dangerous.

Death penalty. From what I understand, "an eye for an eye" was not about eyes, but payment that was equal to the offense.

Who are we to decide who lives and who dies? Isn't that what was the wrong in the first offense? How can we ever stop the violence if we just continue it? As we have witnessed, the death penalty does not deter crime. As a parent, I just could not imagine being glad or relieved that the person who harmed my child would have done to them what they did to my child-or their family to deal with the loss. I would hope that they had a lifetime to find the remorse and regret for their actions.

We are talking about people's lives here, so why is the taxpayer's expense more important? Wouldn't that make our worldview almost as cruel as a murderer's--where we value people's lives for what we think they're worth?

It comes down to worldview, doesn't it: do you want to change the world or submit to the world as it is.

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