Billy Cormier, Susan Sorois, Neil Cornacchio, Gloria Riley, Peter Doyle, Barbara DuPray, Frank Hooley, Karen Kobialka, Wayne Malionek, Aurora Oquendo, Bobby Carter, Beth Tobin.
Those are the names of a few but not all of the Salem children that attended St. Mary's school with me in the late 1960's and early 1970's. We were instructed and disciplined on a daily basis by a group of nuns belonging to the Sisters of Charity. Kindergarten was the realm of Sister Anita. One of the years I was in kindergarten (yes I did kindergarten twice) the student teacher was a tall young woman by the name of Nancy Harrington.
All of the people I named went on to to live their lives as most parents expect their children will do. Some got married and had children. They all have had careers of some kind. A judge, a couple of policemen and probably more than few blue-collar type emerged from that group. They all went on to chase their dreams and face their disappointments.
We were young, innocent children putting our trust in our parents and the nuns every day. We felt safe and secure in our little corner in the basement of the building on Hawthorne Boulevard. Our world was not perfect. Incidents like this were not unknown but they did not seem to be as common as they have become today.
In 1927 the Bath School Disaster was inflicted on Bath Township, Michigan. 45 people including 38 elementary school children were killed in three separate bombings.
There was a school massacre in Cologne, Germany in 1964. Eight students were killed by a man wielding an improvised flame thrower and a 24-year old teacher was stabbed to death.
Charles Whitman killed his wife and mother prior to climbing the clock tower at the University of Texas in 1966. He killed fifteen students before he was done.
Three school massacres, three different methods of massacre.
It is impossible for me to imagine such a thing happening to my kindergarten class back in 1966. I see Neil Cornacchio, tall and strong around town frequently. I read of Judge Peter Doyle presiding at Newburyport District Court. Sergeant Bob Carter patrols the city streets today. On occasion I have had the pleasure of indulging in a cold beer with Beth Tobin. I shudder to think of all of us of lying broken and bloody on the floor in 1966.
They have all gone on to live lives. To be happy and sad, to achieve and fail, to love and lose, to travel or sit at home as they desire. 20 children in Sandy Hook will never experience any of that.
The time for dialogue is now. waiting until tomorrow, or next week serves no purpose.
The mental health system in this country is a pharmaceutical driven nightmare. Instead of actually helping those with emotional issues or personality disorders we choose to medicate them with drugs that suppress or mask the issues. More serotonin seems to be the answer for everything.
To me, a layman with some personal experience in this area giving mind altering drugs to children whose brains are still growing makes no sense. Who knows what long term damage Ritalin or Adderall is doing to undeveloped brains?
Years ago it was common to give children with certain issues large, regular doses of phenobarbital. Many of those children, deal with the residual effects of that practice as adults today. This I know from personal experience.
Did the Sandy Hook gunman have any experience with psychopharmacology?
Do we need more restrictive gun laws? They are already quite restrictive, especially in Massachusetts, and Salem is not an easy place to acquire a license to carry. I do question however, what any rational human needs with a rifle that can fire up to six bullets per second.
No matter your position on mental health care, or gun control the time is long past for rational discussion on the national level.