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Parents, How Did You React to Connecticut School Shooting?

The news of Friday's shooting rampage has left parents all over the country reeling. In this week's Moms Talk, we're asking parents and caregivers to share what their instincts were when they heard the news and if they followed through on

Editor's Note: Here are tips on how to talk to your kids about school violence.

Moms Talk is a weekly feature on all Lehigh Valley Patches in which local parents, caregivers and other members of the community are invited to share opinions and advice on parenting topics.

In the wake of a the tragic elementary school shooting on Friday in Newtown, Conn., this week’s Moms Talk question relates to a topic on every parent’s mind right now – the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

After all, countless lives will never be the same after this.

Even here, in the Lehigh Valley, our lives as parents and caregivers will never be the same.

I know mine won’t. I have two kids. I was taking care of my sick older child, who I had picked up from school earlier in the day, when I first learned of the shooting – on Facebook of all places. He’d been sent to the nurse’s office because he wasn’t feeling well, and was battling a pretty high fever. I was in his room trying to sneak in a little bit of work, posting items to the Emmaus Patch Facebook page, while he tossed and turned in a fitful, feverish sleep.

That’s when I first saw the headlines coming out of Connecticut.

I left his room to read the “full story” and it didn’t take more than a sentence or two before I started to cry, something I cannot remember ever happening to me upon reading a news story. My first instinct was to rush to the elementary school and pick up my “baby.” I am sure that I am not the only parent who felt this way.

Which brings us to this week’s Moms Talk question:

What was your first instinct as a parent, after learning about the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut? Did you follow through on that instinct?

Our Moms Council members include: 

  • Lisa Amey of Upper Milford Township is a stay-at-home mother of two. A past president of the MOMS Club of Emmaus and longtime member of MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers), Lisa is an Independent Consultant for Arbonne International. 
  • Lisa Drew of Emmaus is a certified nutritionist and personal trainer, wellness and fitness coach with more than 17 years of experience. She is the mother of a 13-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
  • Jennifer Elston of Emmaus has almost two decades of professional experience in child development and counseling. She is currently a stay-at-home mom to two beautiful girls. Together with her husband, Chris, she owns Christopher Elston Photography.
  • Jeanne Lombardo of Nazareth is the mother of a 10-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl. She’s new to the Lehigh Valley, having moved to Nazareth from Bergen County, NJ in January.
  • Lisa Merk of Lower Macungie is a stay-at-home mother of four boys – a 12-year-old and 6-year-old triplets. Lisa is a past president of the MOMS Club of Lower Macungie East. In her “spare” time, Lisa teaches piano to school-age children.
  • Zoila Bonilla Paul of Bethlehem is a stay-at-home mom to two girls – a 5-year-old and a 14-month-old. Zoila is a member of her local “moms’ club” and says she is “well-versed in the fun that children can bring.”
  • Beth Sharpless of Emmaus works part time in a local emergency department as a nurse and part time from home as a customer support specialist. She has two children -- a boy who is 3 and a 6-year-old girl. She says they love spending time outdoors and dancing.

If you would like to become a part of the Moms Council and/or have ideas for future Moms Talk questions, please email jennifer.marangos@patch.com.

Fred smith December 16, 2012 at 12:27 PM
The root cause is the greed of the gun industry that used the NRA to buy Politicians, Unfortunately in the USA the $ supersedes morality and the $ is the true God in that country. For the right price anything can be made to be legal and acceptable If only the bad things could 1 st happen to these money hungry hypocrites ie if these innocent kids were the kids or grand kids of the NRA or crooked politicians only then will there be a change As far as I am concern they have blood on their hands
Beth December 16, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Cry. That was my first instinct. I have absolutely no idea what those parents are going through right now. I can't imagine what those kids went through-or what the survivors are going through now. To think that one teacher had the where-with-all to take the children to the closet and she started reading them a book! Not to mention the first responders who had to see the aftermath! It is just a horrible thing for all of those involved. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone up there. Not sure how you move forward after something like this.
Jennifer Rodgers December 16, 2012 at 04:39 PM
It's hard to describe a reaction to something so unimaginable but I felt overwhelming sorrow for the babies killed, their parents and the surviving children left to cope with everything. The mom instinct kicked in next and for a few minutes I had an almost overwhelming urge to "rescue" my son from his elementary school. It's the second time as a parent I've felt that urge...the first was after 9/11.
Jennifer Elston December 16, 2012 at 05:44 PM
I just cried. I had an urge to run to the school and reclaim by 3rd grader. There are no words to expain the horror that happened in CT that day.
Wallst December 16, 2012 at 06:54 PM
It's time for gun control. Top list are the lowest percentage gun ownership states Second list is the lowest death by gun per 100,000 The NRA rides this Elephant into the Room telling you its a horse. There is a direct corellation between those states that have fewer guns and those states that have fewer deaths by guns. • 40. Delaware - 25.5% • 41. Florida - 24.5% • 42. California - 21.3% • 42. Maryland - 21.3% • 44. Illinois - 20.2% • 45. New York - 18% • 46. Connecticut - 16.7% • 47. Rhode Island - 12.8% • 48. Massachusetts - 12.6% • 49. New Jersey - 12.3% • 50. Hawaii - 6.7% 40 Delaware 8 41 Iowa: 6.7 42 Maine: 6.5 43 Minnesota: 6.0 44 New Hampshire: 5.8 45 Rhode Island: 5.1 46 New York: 5.1 47 New Jersey: 4.9 48 Connecticut: 4.3 49 Massachusetts: 3.1 50 Hawaii: 2.8
Mariella Savidge December 16, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I thought SNL had a lovely tribute. As one mom said, "I'll never hear this song the same again." For me, it was "sleep in heavenly peace." Precious babies. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTbhVlHuONo
Bob B December 16, 2012 at 08:10 PM
It certainly appears that you have a very misguided view of theology. The NRA the cause of evil????? Study the Bible. In it you will find that the cause of evil is a lack of the fear of God. As you study the Bible you might also realize that 'all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'. All have sinned means me, you and everyone else.
Carl Stevenson December 17, 2012 at 01:53 PM
What we need to do, if we truly want to prevent as many incidents as possible, is to stop making schools, malls, movie theaters, etc. such soft targets. Hint ... These nuts (and criminals) are cowards. They virtually always pick places with large populations of disarmed, vulnerable people. (see Columbine, VA Tech, the movie theater in Aurora, the mall in Portland ... virtually all of the sites of multiple shootings such as this were "gun free zones" ... not so "gun free" after all, were they?) "Gun free zones" give victims a false sense of security, but they give criminals and nuts real security by assuring that they won't meet any effective resistance quickly enough to prevent their evil deeds. Eliminating the deadly fallacy of "gun-free zones" will prevent most of these crimes, by eliminating the certainty that they can be accomplished without the threat of resistance. Even in the remaining cases, it will at least allow them to be stopped before they can rack up such high body counts. How many innocent men, women, and children have to die in this country before the madness of prohibiting good people the means of self-defense is ended? And, before someone says that the good people shooting back to stop these nuts will just kill more innocents, the federal government's own statistics show that armed civilians acting in self-defense (or the defense of others) are more than 5.5 times LESS likely than the police to accidentally shoot an innocent person.
Carl Stevenson December 17, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Your numbers are worthless hogwash. Chicago, with the tightest gun control in the country, has had nearly 500 killings this year so far. All available data proves that the more people are allowed to have the means to defend themselves, the lower the crime, and that the most effective means is a gun.
Carl Stevenson December 17, 2012 at 01:59 PM
"Never forget, even for an instant, that the one and only reason anybody has for taking your gun away is to make you weaker than he is, so he can do something to you that you wouldn’t let him do if you were equipped to prevent it. This goes for burglars, muggers, and rapists, and even more so for policemen, bureaucrats, and politicians." - Aaron Zelman and L. Neil Smith, Hope (2001)
Lisa Amey December 17, 2012 at 02:35 PM
I am a parent of a first grader and a fourth grader. Upon reading of this horrific tragedy, I immediately started weeping and had an almost uncontrollable urge to hug my kids. I still want to cry when I think about it.
Lisa Merk December 18, 2012 at 01:01 PM
I cried, I was out to lunch with a friend and I went to check the weather, when I read the headline. Like everyone else, my first thought was to go to the school and get my kids and hug them tight. Something needs to be done, I don't know exactly what, but we need to wade through it and get this solved. Mental Heatlh, gun control all of it needs to be re-evaluated and action needs to be taken now. We cannot let this happen again. Yes, taking the line from Mariella Savidges' post "sleep in heavenly peace" children.
Beth December 18, 2012 at 04:49 PM
With all due respect, Carl, there is absolutely NO REASON why any civilian should have a semi-automatic weapon. And, do you have kids?
Jenae Holtzhafer December 18, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I thought the exact same thing. Unfathomable.
Dana December 18, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Agreed, Beth. Those are my exact thoughts. Why does anyone need such a weapon? I understand people have collections as a hobby but I don't get this type of weapon being of any use other than killing. I have tears everytime I see anything having to do with these kids who had their lives taken from them way too soon and crap like this should never happen but sadly, it does. I cannot fathom how a parent can comprehend or go on with life after such a tragedy.
Get December 18, 2012 at 10:51 PM
I use my guns for hunting, varment control, to protect myself on my land at my home. People kill people not guns. Pens don't make us mis-spell, our automobiles don't make us speed or burn through stop signs, our spoons don't make us over eat. People make these choices on their own. Kids dont get enough discipline either, the only know what they are taught. Parents are responsible for teaching their kids right and wrong. If there is no discipline for kids, they grow up and do horrible things. Everytime something like this happens its always about mental issues, or they were over medicated, under medicated, they were seeing a doctor who should have done something knowing they had more intense issues. People who choose to harm others will always find a way. Either bombs, knives, planes, automobiles, bows, bats, golf clubs....the list can go on. Harsher punishments need to be in place for those who choose the misuse weapons. Guns dont kill, people kill.
Beth December 19, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Of course people kill people, but tell me why semi-automatic or automatic weapons are necessary in a civilized world?
Jamie T. December 20, 2012 at 05:15 PM
I don't have children of my own. I work in a school almost 2,000 miles away from where this happened. That Friday, we had a snow day, and I was with two of my friends. We all work at the same school. We were lounging around on the floor, watching a movie and making goodie bags for the 5th graders when we heard the news. My school is a private, Catholic school with less than 400 students K-12. I know every student in the high school, and a good number of the younger children as well. When I heard what had happened, my heart felt like it was breaking. I was stunned, speechless...crying as my friend read aloud one of the news reports. I wanted to go and find all of my kids and hug them. I wanted to forget every time I grew irritated with them or sent them out into the hall. I wanted them to know that even though this tragedy happened far from the doors of our school, we would stand united with the students and community of Sandy Hook. Yes, I don't have children of my own flesh, but every student who comes through my classroom door is my child. I couldn't fathom losing a student, or a child, or a sibling in this massacre and I am not going to pretend like I understand what it is like. I don't, and I pray I never will. I love teaching, my job, my kids...so many little details that only my fellow teacher friends get. I can't imagine what the CT community is going through. I don't know how I can help except to protect my kids from all I can with what I have.

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