Handling Sandy Hook while Living in Mexico

The Connecticut school shootings on Friday really shook me up. I spent Friday afternoon looking at news sites at work, reading updates and crying at my desk.

The weekend was alright. I got my mind off it for the most part, but there were many moments where I found myself in a bit of a zombie-like state. Anytime I hear any kind of reference to kids or playing, my mind immediately flashes to those classrooms for a brief instant before returning to normal.

Reading about the heroic acts of the Sandy Hook staff has helped restore my faith in humanity. I think those stories affected me more than the shooting itself.

After having several conversations with groups of Mexican friends (where I mainly kept my mouth shut and just listened) and seeing Facebook posts from many foreign friends, it seems the rest of the world is appalled at the lack of restrictions on gun ownership in the US. At the same time, many friends mentioned that Mexicans also have easy access to guns, it’s just not the legal kind… so why do these mass shootings keep happening in the USA, but not in Mexico or elsewhere? (with the notable exception of Norway 2011)

I hear people are starting to blame video game violence, TV, movies, etc, but here in Mexico they’re much more exposed to violent images. Here, you can buy a newspaper off the street and open it to find pictures of maimed corpses, yet Mexicans don’t go around shooting up schools and movie theaters. Why America? I don’t know.

Even though I live in Mexico now, my heart is still with the US and I’m so proud to be American. It’s a hard time for us all, I guess.

How are you coping?



7 thoughts on “Handling Sandy Hook while Living in Mexico

  1. This has been tough…we live only about 20 minutes away from Sandy Hook and have lots of family there, one cousin whos daughter goes to kindegarten at that school and takes afternoon kindegarten. Thankfully, she was not there but I can’t stop thinking about these parents, siblings, friends, grandparents….what they must be going through is unthinkable.

    Each time we turn on the TV, we cry – so sad to see these beautiful little faces –

    Why America ? good question…really good question. It needs to stop but how do we even begin to figure this out ? I’ve thought too of the video games, the violent movies etc. And why are parents allowing some of these kids to watch/play/see this kind of stuff ? They are KIDS….and to me, much to young for some of the stuff I’ve seen them play or watch –


  2. I’m coping, and hope others are, by avoiding sensationalist speculation (full of misinformation) about the attack, and having thoughtful conversations about the possible factors contributing to this type of tragedy — including access to semi-automatic weapons, media hype about the perpetrators of the violence, etc, etc.
    But I also know that there are no easy answers (so it’s a waste of energy to become enraged at any one factor), and it’s likely that not all such tragedies can be avoided.
    Also, regarding the question of why these types of things happen in the US, I’m not totally convinced that that perception is entirely true — we hear about the US happenings, but may not hear about others, or at least may not recall them (remember the stabbings of multiple children in a kindergarten in China, for example). The US has a LOT of media, and many many people have access to it, unlike some other places, so our perceptions of these things may in part be sampling bias. I’m not downplaying the very real problem of gun violence, but just keeping in mind that sometimes what we ”know” may just be what we’ve ”heard”.

  3. PS — and, like you, I’m also keeping my mouth shut (but listening) when talking to Mexican friends! (although I think it’s also important to correct some misunderstandings about US gun laws, which, while obviously flawed, DO EXIST!).

  4. Lots of confused feelings. It’s hard to say what drives a person to commit acts like this. I think the answer isn’t going to be one simple thing. Eliminating guns or the right to own them wont really solve much in my opinion. If a person is set on killing, they will always find a way.

    I think the answer lies in exploring the behavior of the people who commit these crimes and finding a way to identify it and correct it early on. Somewhere society let this young man slip through their fingers. I would be surprised if there were not several red flags that something was wrong with him mentally.

    It’s understandable that people want a scapegoat. They want to punish someone or something for what has happened. I can’t begin to imagine how the families of the victims feel. I would want some measure of justice if not revenge. The only good that can come from situations like this is to try and learn from it, in order to try and prevent this behavior in the future.

  5. This may sound awful, but I’m so glad he killed himself! Kids today need RELIGION .. Prayer has been taken out of schools and parents as well as children need to take one hour on Sunday to attend a church!

  6. I was pretty shaken up by it too, and in Spain everyone is asking the same questions. But here, it’s illegal to have guns and pretty much nobody does. Everyone is appalled and wants to quiz me on U.S. gun policies, then ask ‘but what on earth do they want guns for?’

    Having conversations helps a little, but it’s just such an awful situation.

    P.S. You mention the Norway shooting. It was terrible, but a one-off event is hard for me to compare to the U.S. Last week, there were 3-4 shootings big enough to make the national news. That’s a bigger cultural problem than a single lunatic.

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