I love the sound of that headline.
You know, when the New Year begins, I am always torn about how much from the previous year I should allow into the new one. It's tempting to want to leave the tragedies behind. But to forget is to risk the past repeating itself.
That's why my mind is still on the Connecticut school shootings, particularly because of something a close friend of mine shared with me. She told me that her eleven-year-old grandson, Jonah, wrote a letter to President Obama about the shootings.
It was his way of handling the tragedy, she said. He needed to feel like he could help in some way and this was his way. The letter is great. I've included it below. But what I think is even greater is what he told my friend Susan after he sent the letter.
He told her that he wished every kid would write a letter to the president. Not an email or a phone call. But a letter. How could the president ignore bags and bags and bags filled with thousands of letters from the very people who are afraid that next time it will be their school, their friends, their lives that will be shattered?
The very children who are wondering how they will have families of their own one day when not even school is safe, when children are killing their parents, when guns are as easy to buy as bubble gum and when mental illness is still a four-letter-word.
I love Jonah's idea. I love the imagery of the White House lawn blanketed with letters penned by children asking for a safer life and a better future and suggesting ways to make that happen. Adults aren't doing such a great job these days of protecting our lives and our world. Maybe Jonah's right, maybe it's time the kids had a say...
Dear President Obama,
My name is Jonah. I am a fifth grade student, and I have some thoughts and questions about gun violence. I know you are busy with the tragedy in Connecticut, but this relates.
Why don't you and the government agree on NO GUNS unless they are used for police, FBI, or military related work? If the government has laws about seat belts, why not guns? In my opinion, guns are more dangerous than riding in a car without seat belts. But, seat belts are still an important law.
I have another opinion. If people want to shoot targets, let them shoot with fake bullets because if they are shooting with real guns and real bullets they might get a wrong idea of hurting people.
I have another opinion. I don't think all the violent video games are a good idea. Someone who is mentally disabled or a young kid may get the wrong idea. Do you have any ideas about what to do regarding this situation?
I wish other kids would write to you in this kind of way. We could call it KIDS OPINIONS COUNT. I know I am just a kid, but trust me, we kids think about this stuff.
I know this is a lot to take in, but we need to do something to save peoples lives.
P.S. Thanks for all you do.
Here's the White House mailing address:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500