Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Tribute to Dylan of Sandy Hook Elementary

**Post was initiated during the Florida school shooting last week**

I always want to be very careful when I talk about current events.  I don't assume that everyone shares my opinions and I certainly don't share the common public views on many things either.  But when something is on my mind, and in my heart, I write.  Its just who I am.

There is, right this moment, an active shooter situation in a school in Florida.  The details are very scrambled, but the overall consensus is that there will be considerable casualties involved.

I wonder....when is ENOUGH going to be ENOUGH?

Plenty of people, like me, will step forward and beg that laws be changed to protect innocent lives.  Most citizens will agree that background checks are an acceptable form of protection.  Many of us will plead that items such as bump stocks and assault style weapons be restricted from those in the general populous.

There is no greater duty as parents and citizens than to protect our children.  There is no amendment, no law, no statute, and no perceived right greater than our responsibility to our children to provide a safe environment for those innocent lives.  To me, there is no debate, we must take whatever steps are necessary to ensure the safety of our children.

Tyler's day program locks down every day.  In order to gain access to the building, a person must be seen and buzzed in.  Of course this does not guarantee his safety, but it helps.  But if someone were to enter that space with the intent to kill, he would be completely at the mercy of fate.  Like the children of Sandy Hook Elementary, he would have no means to defend himself....or even the instinct to do so.  

It is long past the time to wake up on many fronts.  We need to have better access to mental health care.  We have to evaluate our parenting priorities and the amount of exposure our children have to gratuitous violence.  And we have to have common sense weapon protections for innocent lives.  

The facts are undeniable....innocent children die needlessly due to gun violence.  Innocent children die needlessly due to gun suicides.  Innocent children die needlessly in accidental gun discharges.  And innocent children die due to domestic gun violence.  

Dylan Hockley was 6 years old when his life was taken from him.  At THAT MOMENT, this country should have needed no other reason to change.  There should have been overwhelming anger and call to action when Dylan's family was torn apart by violence that could have, and should have been prevented.  

Society failed Dylan and his family, just as they have failed every victim at Sandy Hook, just as they did at Columbine, and so many others.  Our representatives failed them by accepting money from the NRA.  Worst of all we have failed them by not learning our lesson and allowing it to happen over and over and over again.

As Tyler's dad, and Sam's dad, I have questions that I want answers to:  why do we allow lawmakers to be bought by the NRA?  Why do we ignore the rights of the common citizen to go to church, school, and the mall without fear of being gunned down by assault-style weapons?  Why do we continue to reduce funding for mental health treatment?  How is it that guns have been upgraded over the last 250 years and yet the 2nd amendment has not?

If I could tell Dylan Hockley and the Hockley Family anything, it would be that he lives on in the hearts of those of us that believe in the right to live life in peace.  With that in mind, this post is dedicated to him.

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