16 December, 2012


Like many around the world I woke up yesterday to the devastating news of another school shooting in America - and like many around the world my heart broke for the victims, their families and friends and the survivors.

I can't decide if this man's look if relief at finding his child alive or appealing to a higher being to explain this.
This is relief

I quickly flicked through a few twitter posts, some online news stories - growing anger that this had happened again and once again large amounts of America did not want to talk about gun control. 
You see, I hate guns. See no reason for them to be in a suburban setting. See no reason for any civilian to possess something that can spray a large number of bullets in a very short period of time. I live in Australia and after a horrific massacre at Port Arthur in 1996,  the Australian government introduced strict gun control laws in the face of opposition from farmer and gun lobby groups. But they did it - and it worked. In the 18 years before 1996, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings. There has not been one since.
 Port Arthur, Tasmania. The site of Australia's last mass shooting
Anyway, I went through my day - kids activities, shopping, gathering of friends at my place last night for end of year drinks. But all day I checked twitter, news feeds - looking for ?? answers, I suppose.
And then last night, after our guests had gone and I sat down, I picked up my tablet one more time, to just check before bed and read that the children killed were aged between 5 and 10. My kids are 7 and 10. I broke down, I sobbed, I hurt. I tried, so hard, to imagine that those warm little bodies upstairs asleep were gone and I couldn't, I couldn't go there. How, I asked my husband, how do you go to sleep tonight? How do you reconcile that child you dropped off at school that morning with your brutal, harsh reality of now. His answer - you don't. Even now as I type this I cry. I cry for all who have suffered in this and a cry for a whole nation that is hurting, but must start taking steps, must start the conversation. . 

Victoria Soto - a teacher who died protecting her students 
 Finally - Walter Mikac who lost his children and wife at Port Arthur has, since that day refused to say or write the name of the gunman. Too often in these crimes we remember the name of the perpetrator, but not the victims. I too refuse to name the gunman -  in either of these terrible events. But here is a list of those who deserve to be remembered, both from Port Arthur and Sandy Hook, remember them, for they deserve your time and thoughts, as do all the victims of these horrific crimes.
Port Arthur Massacre - Australia 1996
Winifred Joyce Aplin, 58
Walter John Bennett, 66
Nicole Louise Burgess, 17
Sou Leng Chung, 32
Elva Rhonda Gaylard, 48
Zoe Anne Hall, 28
Elizabeth Jayne Howard, 26
Mary Elizabeth Howard, 57
Mervyn John Howard, 55
Ronald Noel Jary, 71
Tony Vadivelu Kistan, 51
Leslie Dennis Lever, 53
Sarah Kate Loughton, 15
David Martin, 72
Noelene Joyce Martin, 69
Pauline Virjeana Masters, 49
Alannah Louise Mikac, 6
Madeline Grace Mikac, 3
Nanette Patricia Mikac, 36
Andrew Bruce Mills, 49
Peter Brenton Nash, 32
Gwenda Joan Neander, 67
Moh Yee Willing Ng, 48
Anthony Nightingale, 44
Mary Rose Nixon, 60
Glen Roy Pears, 35
Russell James Pollard, 72
Janette Kathleen Quin, 50
Helene Maria Salzmann, 50
Robert Graham Salzmann, 57
Kate Elizabeth Scott, 21
Kevin Vincent Sharp, 68
Raymond John Sharp, 67
Royce William Thompson, 59
Jason Bernard Winter, 29

Sandy Hook, USA - 2012

Charlotte Bacon, 6
Daniel Barden, 7
Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7
Ana Marquez-Greene, 6
Dylan Hockley, 6
Madeleine Hsu, 6
Catherine Hubbard, 6
Chase Kowalski, 7
Jesse Lewis, 6
James Mattioli, 6
Grace McDonnell, 7
Emilie Parker, 6
Jack Pinto, 6
Noah Pozner, 6
Caroline Previdi, 6
Jessica Rekos, 6
Avielle Richman, 6
Benjamin Wheeler, 6
Allison Wyatt, 6
Rachel Davino, 29
Dawn Hochsprung, 47
Anne Marie Murphy, 52
Lauren Rousseau, 30
Mary Sherlach, 56
Victoria Soto, 27