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Instead of the Dishes » Health, Health & Fitness, Mommyhood » To All the Whos Down in Who-ville: Helping Newtown, CT

To All the Whos Down in Who-ville: Helping Newtown, CT

It was late in the day on Friday when I heard the news of what had happened in Newtown.  I was bombarded with posts on Facebook when I sat down at my desk after a day of meetings.  One of the posts was a link to a petition for stronger gun control laws.  I signed it and posted it in my own news feed.  My post didn’t draw much attention, but the comments I did get were all negative, chiding me for pushing an “agenda”, for being disrespectful to the victims, and for implying that it was the gun’s fault.

Now, if you know me well, you would know that none of these things were my intention.  I am not a politician, so I don’t operate on an agenda. I operate on my own beliefs. I don’t have a problem with hunting or with folks owning weapons for such purposes.  I’m not a big fan of concealed carry, but I respect the theory and the right to do so.  I don’t, however, believe that any civilian should have access to assault weapons.  That’s my belief, not my agenda.

The big, most hurtful thing, was the implication that I was being disrespectful by taking action. If I see a problem, or someone who needs help, I feel a strong need to do something.  Sure, I believe in the power of prayer and sending good thoughts, but I want to DO something. I want to have a measurable step toward a solution. If something terrible happened to me, I wouldn’t want people to stand silent out of respect. I would want them to do something. Anything. Anything that they think might make a difference.

Over the weekend I saw many more instances of this on Facebook – people criticizing one another’s actions (and not just related to gun control) in the wake of tragedy.  It made me think of Dr. Seuss and the Whos. When Horton the elephant discovered the Whos on their speck of dust floating through the air, he found he couldn’t protect them on his own. The Whos didn’t cower and leave their fate in the hands of someone else. They did everything they possibly could; yapping and yipping, banging and bipping. Each Who took action in their own way, exerting energy individually toward a greater group goal. In the end, it was enough to save the entire Who civilization. Then the Grinch came down from the mountains and stole their Christmas. But, the Whos did not falter, they did not  wallow in sadness. They still gathered together and da-hoo doorayed on Christmas morning, a collective force that was enough to make the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes that day.

Obviously these are works of fiction, but I can’t help thinking sometimes, “What would a Who do?”

We all grieve and cope differently, and I wish that folks could just let one another be sometimes. If you don’t like yipping, then put your effort into bipping, and vice versa. For me, the thing that makes me feel better, the thing that makes me feel most useful, is action. Not respectful silence, not prayers shot to the heavens, not wallowing in the media circus, and certainly not tossing negativity at the well-meaning efforts of others. And I know I’m not alone, because over the weekend and into this week, I’ve seen lots of other doers posting about what they are doing.  And, so, my fellow Whos, here is a collection of action items related to the Newtown tragedy. It is in no particular order. Take your pick, do what you can, do what you want, but please don’t judge the actions of others.

  • Sign the petition for gun control that won me lots of friends on Facebook. Then, read Dr. Seuss’s Butter Battle Book.
  • Read more about Ann Curry’s idea behind #26ActsofKindness. Take part.
  • Read and Learn from my eloquent friend Kyran about how to help a stranger bear the unbearable.
  • My friend Dionne posted this on Facebook:
    From my friend in CT:
    So many of you near and far have asked what you could do to help. Students from Sandy Hook will be relocated to another school. The building is being prepped, but could use some sprucing up. 
    Snowflakes for Sandy Hook
    Please help the students of Sandy Hook have a winter wonderland at their new school! Get Creative!! No two snowflakes are alike. Make and send snowflakes to Connecticut PTSA, 60 Connolly Parkway, Building 12, Suite 103, Hamden, CT 06514, by January 12, 2013
  • Daria Musk is over on Google Plus collecting comments, notes, and whatever else you want to email to her. Newtown is her hometown, and she’ll be delivering those sentiments to the memorial site.
  • Julie at Julieverse initiated Thank A Teacher Day.  The designated day was actually yesterday, but you can thank a teacher anytime, anywhere. Julie’s post has ideas on ways to do it.
  • And while you’re at it, Fadra at All Things Fadra reminds us to Thank those that work in public service.
  • My FB friend Danny, who works in Crisis Intervention, encouraged us to be familiar with local Crisis Intervention hotline numbers.  Look yours up and put it in your phone.  You never know when you or someone you love might need it.
  • Read this article, if you haven’t already, about a mother that lives with a mentally ill child who threatens her life regularly. Eyes opened, perspective gained, I promise.
  • Kelly over at The Centsible Life has a post that includes an address to send cards or toys as well as an address to send donations to the Sandy Hook Support Fund.
  • Read this article about how computer hackers are trying to protect the victim’s families from Westboro protests.  There’s also a link to a petition to have Westboro designated as a hate group that you can sign.
  • One of the families who lost a child has set up a trust fund to help with the expense of counseling, education, etc for his siblings: Noah’s Ark of Hope.
  • Several other bloggers took a day of silence on Tuesday.  Again, not my thing, but they also funneled readers toward donating to Newtown Youth and Family Services.
  • Read the Buzzfeed article, 26 Moments That Restored our Faith in Humanity This Year, bring a tissue, leave with inspiration.

I’m sure there are more that I’ve missed.  If you know of something, please Yopp it in the comments.

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5 Responses to "To All the Whos Down in Who-ville: Helping Newtown, CT"

  1. gina says:

    Fawn! Thanks for compiling such an awesome list of non-political actions I can take to show my support for those at Sandy Hook.

  2. Jacqueline says:

    Thank you, Fawn.

  3. Fawn says:

    You are most welcome ladies. Thank you for sharing it on your Facebook pages.

  4. Byron says:

    All the following is simply a respectful pointer to the contrary, but makes a long post.

    Agenda: a list, plan, outline, or the like, of things to be done, matters to be acted or voted upon, etc. In the case mentioned (Facebook), you published a link with a petition and the following text “Sign a letter to push common sense: urge the NRA and Congress to stop blocking gun regulations that protect our families.”
    that qualifies as an agenda and publishing it on Facebook qualifies as ‘pushing’ it.
    Yes, it was based on your personal beliefs, however when public and on facebook, you can’t expect people to not reply in kind. Nobody was disrespectful and the comments pointing out the inappropriateness of debating or pushing political views and to leave a day to simply be respectful were well founded. I would not have considered 6 comments (including one of your own) as ‘bombardment’. Same with a blog, if you make a belief public, then it submits that belief to support and questioning equally. This is our first amendment right in practice.
    Personally I think media, and published word and expression has more to do with people shooting up places than the right to bear arms, but that’s a separate debate. The moral structure people have that allows them to do what they do is more important in these cases, than the final actions or tools used. These actions are a reflection of societies failures to address a consistent moral structure.
    Petitions that are addressed to congress to get them to make laws, qualify as politics.

    Education: Firstly, the second amendment… I don’t need to go into it, any half educated person should know what it says and what it means. However as iteration to the point at present, banning ‘assault weapons’ would classify as an ‘infringement’ upon this right and no part of it says guns are for hunting purposes only.

    Now to address points which I believe many are ignorant.
    Assault weapon: A technically vague term that essentially covers any gun that ‘looks’ military. Usually these guns are black, maybe have accessory rails (to put flashlights on your gun), hand grips, etc. Look up “tacticool”, and see the large airsoft following for this style of ‘gun’.
    Assault rifle: a gun with selective automatic/semiautomatic fire used by militaries and police agencies around the world. The looks of which are often copied for civilian approved weapons. (look up automatic vs semi automatic guns for further reference)

    Now I don’t know if people mean to say they support bans on assault rifle’s or assault weapons (there is a difference), but in either case it’s a poorly founded stance, and this is why:

    Assault rifles are essentially machine guns by definition and are highly regulated. Owning one requires getting your local law enforcement chief to sign off permission, as well as an FBI background check (which requires fingerprints, pictures etc), a 6-8 month wait for a BATFE approval and a 200 dollar federal stamp on the letter of approval. These guns are HIGHLY regulated and it’s unlikely that you even know of anybody who owns one (you may actually but it’s unlikely you know they do). In fact ‘assault rifles’ created after 1986 are no longer allowed to be imported, manufactured or owned by civilians, which is why if you would like to TRY to buy an assault rifle, like the colt m16 (the gun that the bushmaster ar 15 was modeled to LOOK like), it will set you back $20,000 or more.

    Assault weapons are simply guns that ‘look’ scary. The ‘scary’ part coming from what people perceive after watching too many action movies. ‘Looks’ I believe are protected by the first amendment, as freedom of expression. Many of the guns that would currently qualify as ‘assault’ weapons are semi automatic 22lr guns (look up S&W M&P 15/22 as reference)that are no different than guns like the ruger 10/22.. a gun that most people would call PC.
    The last time an assault weapons ban was in place statistical data (compiled by supporters for that movement trying to create backup to keep the bill in place) found that the law had absolutely no affect on crime statistics.
    Additionally the assault weapons ban had been in place for 5 years when the columbine shootings occurred. Hunting rifles were used in Jonesboro.
    The ONLY laws that have been shown to have any affect on crime statistics are state laws that permit concealed carry. These states reduced their rate of murder by 8.5%, rape by 5%, aggravated assault by 7% and robbery by 3%. The CDC in an while trying to debunk many of these ‘statistics’ found them to be valid (for those of you questioning “right wing statistics”).

    The day of the shooting was a time for sadness and shock, not a time to push political agendas that IMO are poorly conceived knee jerk reactions that reflect more ignorance than wisdom. I think a lack of knowledge about guns, gun systems, gun laws, etc. has created a country were people erroneously vilify them. The guy in CT, STOLE the guns he used and killed the owner, how do you stop that with laws (as it’s already illegal)? How will making more laws stop people who break laws in the first place? these are legitimate questions that are consistently unaddressed by supporters of anti-gun legislation. The guy closed the door in a classroom full of children and had enough time to make sure every person in the room was dead, he could have used a sword and been equally effective in carrying out the atrocity, and would have drawn less attention (ie had more time).

    NOW, the rest of the links you posted are great, I completely believe that people should try to be more kind in their day to day lives and not marginalize people for trite reasons.
    I think people who just in their day to day lives say negative things about others, like how much they weigh or how they may run late or be over picky about things or how they dress or look, are typically just mean spirited and should spend more time reflecting upon themselves and focusing on what steps they may do to improve being kind and caring.
    Focusing on patience and ‘doing the right thing’ regardless of how inconvenient it may be, is a very noble pursuit. I think that if there was more of these types of values pushed by the media and society, that there would be fewer people who feel marginalized to the point that they act out against society in the manner they do.

  5. Fawn says:

    Byron, I disagree with the majority of your post above. I think you need to get your own blog, and if you feel that publishing something on Facebook is an “agenda” then put your agendas on your FB page, and not mine. My main point of my blog post was not about gun control. It was about taking positive action and not judging the actions/beliefs of others, which you continue to do. Clearly we disagree on several issues. I am not interested in debating them with you.

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