Circumstances change your mind

(Emily–Francesca Battistelli)

It was recently the two year anniversary of the shooting in Newtown Connecticut. Two years ago I was in the same place I am right now (on my bed in front of the computer) researching everything I could possibly find out about the situation…and then researching schools with a social work degree. I was a second year and for the first time I had been thinking about what I could do with my life if I wasn’t a pharmacist. This started as an extremely frustrating assignment over break–all I had ever wanted to be was a pharmacist. If you had asked me when I was really little what I wanted to be you wouldn’t get the answer of a mom or a princess or a ballerina…I had no idea. I didn’t know what I wanted to be…and I had plenty of time to figure that out…I wasn’t going to be old for a long time. 🙂 One day my mom asked me if I’d like to be a pharmacist. I immediately rejected that idea; The hospital is open 24 hours and I need to sleep (Yeah, I was the strange child who thought of a pharmacist as working at a hospital rather than as someone who worked at a Walmart or Walgreens or something…). Once I found out that I didn’t actually have to work all day just because the hospital was open all day I agreed that that was what I wanted to do, as if I had wanted it forever but hadn’t thought it was a possibility. By fourth grade I was dedicated to pharmacy and ready to tell everyone that was what I was going to do when I grew up. I am pretty sure it was fourth grade when I shadowed for the first time. My commitment to pharmacy never wavered…nothing was going to change that…anyway, I don’t think there is too much more I can say about that without revealing more than I’d like to in this forum about my whereabouts, and that isn’t what I intended to write about anyway…

So why in the world was I looking for something else? Well I could give a direct answer to that question, but I’d rather start a bit over a year before that…I was a first year. To pull me in to the school that I ended up attending I was told that if I took certain courses my first semester there were certain classes that I could use external credits to cover…but after an average of a meeting every week for awhile, sometimes multiple meetings in the same day, I found myself in the dean’s office…and I went into this meeting expecting it to be about giving me the official decision that yes, I did have credit for those courses and could move on and finally be done with all these meetings…I was almost done with meetings after this, but the meeting was actually to tell me that they decided I couldn’t have those credits…which wouldn’t have been nearly so devastating, but the dean’s words to me were that I “was taking the baby way out” (by suggesting that I take more difficult classes and take classes all summer…umm how is that being a baby–my proposal would have actually required that I work much harder than the average student) and that there was no reason for me to be at this school and even try because I was “just going to fail the interview anyway.” Well, obviously when I got the information about the interview the next year I was scared. I was a girl who barely spoke to her closest friends, and was being faced with speaking to strangers, and while I otherwise would have been pretty confident in my ability to get through it because I have always made it through crucial conversations, the dean’s words echoed through my mind and I was scared. I enlisted the help of my counselor to practice for the interview. I didn’t know at the time that as long as you show up you automatically pass, and I don’t know if she doubted my ability or just thought that perhaps it was not normal to have absolutely no conceptualization of what I would do if I didn’t pass the interview, but she wanted me to come up with a plan. I was not yet really using spoken word with her and couldn’t even usually assert myself enough to present written word, so I couldn’t express that this was a totally overwhelming task, but I was upset and frustrated, because didn’t she know that this was the only thing I wanted? Once I get my heart set on something, I don’t let go…you could be creating a change that is arguably better for me, but if I have already planned my life around what I thought was happening, I may very well melt down over the change…I don’t do change well unless I can be in the middle of the chaos…

So anyway, at first I was still very much tied to becoming a pharmacist and all my ideas involved either trying the interview again or going to the school that I had originally planned to go to in the first place, or maybe going to the school I thought I was going to until high school…but at all of these schools the only degree program I was at all interested in was pharmacy…but deep down I kind of knew that this was cheating and I was supposed to be coming up with an alternative career. Then Newtown happened. I knew I strongly desired to help children, and that further stirred that desire, and I thought maybe I would like to be a child life specialist. I looked up what kind of degree it took to become a child life specialist and determined that I would get a bachelor’s in social work. Through my research I think I might have ultimately ended up with something besides child life specialist as what I wanted to do with that degree when I graduated, but I don’t remember what that was, and that is not important to the story…side note though, I took the what career were you made for quiz on facebook today and it told me I was made for a therapist…I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get pharmacy, but apparently I really was on to something with social work.

Anyway, so the Newtown anniversary means more to me than just another shooting. I totally agree with the people doing things to remember and grieve in memorial of this, but there is one movement that I very much disagree with. There are some people who are suing the seller of the type of gun used in the shooting. That is ridiculous on so many levels. First of all, the makers of the gun did absolutely nothing wrong. How should have they known that a killer would use their gun to do this? And it doesn’t really matter what kind of gun he had. He was likely going to use whatever gun was available for the shooting, so it really has no bearing on the situation what type of gun he ended up with. Although I know I can’t hold non-Christians up to the same standards, what happened to love your neighbor as yourself? The gun people didn’t want this to happen anymore than you did, and now you are attempting to tear their lives apart over something they had absolutely no responsibility or control over. That is ridiculous and that is why our world has so many issues–people keep getting away with blaming other people who weren’t even involved for things that happened or sometimes even things that might not have even happened…If everyone could just grow up and treat others as they would like to be treated we wouldn’t have so many issues like this. I recognize that sometimes people make mistakes, and those mistakes might hurt other people, but two wrongs don’t make a right, and I am pretty sure it is enough work to sue somebody that you don’t just impulsively and accidentally sue someone…especially when it is a group effort–getting a whole group of people involved takes some advanced planning and coordination and I have a hard time believing that a large number of people could all make the same mistake all at the same time…

Another problem: guns are not the problem…If the killer wanted to cause trouble he would have done it whether a gun was available or not. Guns do not kill people…or at least they seem not to.

Yesterday I placed my shotgun on the front porch, gave it six shells, and noticing it had no legs, placed it in a wheelchair to help it get around. I left it alone and went about my business.
While I was gone, the mailman delivered my mail, the boy across the street picked up my yard, a girl walked her dog down the street, and quite a few cars stopped at the stop sign near my house.
After 10 hours, I checked on the shotgun. It was still sitting in the wheelchair. It had not rolled outside and It had not killed anyone in spite of many opportunities that had been presented. It had not even loaded itself.
Can you imagine how surprised I was with all the hype about how dangerous guns are and how they kill people? Either the media is wrong and the killing is by people misusing guns or I'm in possession of the laziest gun in the world. So now I'm off to check on my spoons, because I hear they make people fat.
Donald K. Martin, Windsor Locks

(This is from–20130316_1_guns-people-front-porch)

I am not in any way saying people have a right to guns…I don’t really understand why anyone should ever have a gun at home…seems to me that if shooting ranges and summer camps (and obviously the military) were the only places that guns were available we’d have a lot fewer problems with them…because I really hope you are not intending to shoot a gun in your suburban neighborhood or in your crowded city streets…just sayin’…yeah, bad guys will find a way to get what they want in any case, but we don’t need to make it so easy for them…I mean, it is kind of like saying that teens without a license are more likely to get into accidents but they are going to be driving anyway on their permits so we might as well just give them all a license and access to a car…umm no, their parents have been driving them around for 15 years, it is not so much to ask for them to be present in the car for one more year to try to protect the teen…


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