Driving home from classes one chilly December day in 2012, I watched my mom’s eyes water as she started to explain the violence that had occurred in Newtown, Connecticut to my sister and I. Just a thirty minute drive from my home, I am sure she felt fear that this could have been her own kids, anger, and confusion. While neither my sister nor I was in public school at the time, I had been considering traditional school for quite some time, and the incident hit uncomfortably close to home. As more information came out about the tragedy, the media tried to identify the cause of the shooting, or what could have been done to stop it. Mental instability and psychological health awareness, gun control and background check failures; all of these were potential failure points for those seeking answers. But the most confusing and frightening to twelve-year-old me was that Adam Lanza was homeschooled, and homeschooling communities in Connecticut were accused of bringing up gun-lovers and those who flaunted law enforcement.
In Connecticut, there are no regulations on homeschooling - I never had to take a standardized test or report my school curriculum to the State of Connecticut until I entered public schools - which is unlike many states in the U.S.. As you may know Connecticut is an extraordinarily left-wing and liberal state, and with urgings from liberal policy makers, the Democratic governor proposed a bill that would require more oversight of Connecticut homeschoolers and force them to report behavioral changes in their children that would have otherwise been “caught” in public schools. While this had several fatal flaws in protecting Connecticut’s children from potential school shooters, namely that Lanza was in public school when he graduate from high school and misdiagnosed what had “caused” Lanza’s shooting spree, it threatened to take away freedoms from the homeschooling community that they were acutely aware of.
Despite what it may seem, I always have had and always will have liberal political views, and was raised in a family that shares these philosophies. I was angered then, and I am angered now by people who try to attack a community for raising a killer, a murderer, a rapist, the “wrong” way, rather than changing regulations that have failed time and time again. When we chose to target a group of people for the actions of one individual, it feeds anger and spite into the community as they are already reeling from tragedy. Like many Americans, I have experienced this threat personally, and I hope that we can shift from this accusatory rhetoric towards discussions that can have a positive impact on the safety of our country before it is too late to change.