Newtown Elementary School Shooting Should Be The Wake Up Call America Needs

I cannot keep my balance on my yoga mat today. I’m not breathing deeply and my mind is cloudy. The news has hit us like a ton of bricks. How can we continue on with the rest of our day when we know more than 20 families will never see their loved ones again? This isn't war. These children were sent off with Batman lunchboxes and Dora book bags. This Christmas, their families will be without them. And their classmates will be waiting for their friends and teachers on Monday but they will never come.

The mass shooting that led to the death of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has shook this nation to its core. It is a stark reminder that violence is indiscriminate and that it's time we face this pattern of violent shootings that are happening too often. This year alone there have been 15 mass shootings, not including today’s tragedy.

The fact that mass shootings are becoming a part of our reality is spine chilling. In the midst of our busy lives we also have to be afraid that someone will burst into a supermarket, school, or mall and start shooting at random, is a sure sign that it's time to have a real conversation about what we're up against. Is it the violence on television and video games, gun control, or mental health care? All of the above? Let's discuss this seriously and figure it out.

It will begin with parents around the country trying to explain to their children what happened. Except this type of senseless violence has no logical interpretation. Instead they will have to soothe their fears that this won't happen to them. It's truly heartbreaking. 

According to reporting done by Mother Jones, there have been 61 mass murders since 1982. Most of the guns were gained legally and all but one killer were men. We need to study the patterns and find ways to answer the many questions we have. But that will never be enough. It's time to get serious about solutions and policy changes. Let the tears we shed this holiday season also be a catalyst for our efforts to turn this awful trend around.