I’m Just One Person . . .

If you’re like me, you might be asking yourself, what can I do?  I’m just one person.

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Connecticut, I’ve been burrowed in, connecting with my family and my friends, wrapping presents, baking cookies, driving around the island with Joe looking at the lights and decorations, working on my book and watching old movies, but always with sadness and a kind of sick feeling that won’t go away; the worst of it has been how helpless I’ve felt.

Gabby Giffords broke my heart, that young good woman. The Colorado movie theater was a senseless nightmare; twelve people died, fifty-eight people were wounded by a mentally ill man with an assault weapon.  Now they are burying innocent children and young teachers.

These terrible deaths and all this heartbreak cannot be for nothing, it just has to mean something.

The only thing I know; to write letters.  And now, there seem to be so many of us moms, grandmas, sisters, aunties, daddies, brothers, and best friends, thinking alike; I thought I’d gather together some links to make it easy for you to let your feelings be known in case you feel like I do, like you want to do something.

Here’s the way you can find out who your congressperson is in the House of Representatives. When you get his name, Google him, there will be a contact for him, a phone number or email address you can write to.

This is a Petition to the House of Representatives and the Senate you can sign . . . Right now, at gun shows, where 40% of guns are purchased, no background checks are required.  We, the people, have to take off our shoes in airports, but anyone, including terrorists (and criminals and mentally ill) can legally buy assault weapons in this country.  A sensible woman does not agree with this.

You can sign a White House petition for better mental health care.

Here’s one to Ban Assault Weapons.  Also, Diane Feinstein, Senator from California has a bill ready to go to Ban Assault Weapons and those big clips with hundreds of bullets in them.  She says we should “get weapons of war off the street.” Supporting this woman in her quest is the sensible thing.

Wal-mart, you will be happy to learn, has just pulled the Bushmaster Assault Rifle off its shelves. This is a very good sign. (Wal-mart sells assault weapons? Really?)

Write or call the White House or your Representative to see what we can do to ban violent video games which our Supreme Court in its infinite wisdom has deemed “free speech.”

One of the good guys spoke out yesterday, and made me cry.  I detected a little Superman cape around this guy …. perhaps an “S” on his T-shirt. Proud of him. Proud of the way people are coming together to grieve, to pray, and to find answers.

After today, I am going back to real life and do a new post all about love, fun, happiness, joy, all the little things that make life sweet. I’m going to play happy music and show you what Jack has been doing.  My real job.    I love you, Girlfriends.  Wishing you a wonderful day. xoxo

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817 Responses to I’m Just One Person . . .

  1. Margot in Virginia Beach says:

    I thought this bears repeating. We need to write or call our Congressmen and Senators, as Susan suggested, for mental health issues and gun control. The power of the pen is better. I was at Colonial Williamsburg yesterday…If they didn’t write we would be a British Colony!
    I also want to thank Susan for letting the girlfriends vent.
    Most of all, I want to thank you Susan for putting the phone numbers and addresses for Congress and Senate on your calendars!!! When I was so stressed about my son not getting food when back on US soil on his base or the time he wasn’t getting a paycheck or the time his GI Bill was held up so he couldn’t pay his bills/tuition I just flipped to the back of my Susan Branch Calendar, AND things moved real fast!!! I could empower my son to advocate for himself!
    Bless the children and bless our troops!!!

    • sbranch says:

      “Bless the children and Bless our troops!”

    • Jan says:


      Your words have once again touched my heart. I’m a Preschool teacher, so as you can imagine this horrible, horrible, awful incident has left me heartbroken in a place I thought we were all safe. I love my kids, my tiny little friends I see and play with everyday. I have cried a thousand tears as we all have.

      I just wanted to let you know that you made a difference in me. I’m writing letters and making phone calls! My voice will not be silenced!! I’m hurt, and angry that this was allowed to happen!

      I love you Susan. You bring happiness to a whole new level for me with your blog each day. I gather inspiration, joy, love, laughter….all the GOOD STUFF of LIFE!!! So thank you! In this difficult time, you have rekindled my heart.

      • sbranch says:

        I am so happy to hear that Jan, it truly is so awful… no good words for the indecency of it. Thank you for what you do. xoxo

      • Nita Wirtz says:

        On this one week anniversary of the terrible tragedy, you are my antidote Susan. Thank-you for giving me the opportunity to sign the petition. We needed to talk about this but we need your beautiful approach to the world every bit as much.

        Have a blessed, warm and healthy Christmas.

    • Leigh Ulicny says:

      Thank you for putting all of this information in one place. I will surely be doing each and every one of them. Trying not to let the tragedy affect the “normalcy” of life at home with my family but it was awfully hard sending my daughter off to school this morning.

  2. Heather says:

    I have two blogs to share: rzim.org and aholyexperience.com

  3. Diane Harris says:

    Here’s a link to a news article where companies are either not going to sell assault rifles or divesting their holdings in gun manufacturers. This is a start. bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/blog/morning-edition/2012/12/dicks-walmart-cerberus-take-steps.html?ana=e_pit_rdup&s=newsletter&ed=2012-12-19

    However, the gun sales in Pennsylvania went UP after the shooting. Go figure. The gun lovers are afraid their rights will be taken away?

    • sbranch says:

      A lot of online sites and talk shows are telling people they have to worry that the 2nd amendment will be taken away, and they believe it.

  4. As a Canadian, I’ve grown up in a culture so different from that of my southern neighbour, as it applies to gun laws. I admire the stand you’ve taken and the action you’ve encouraged for citizens of your country, Susan.


  5. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    Oh, Susan and Girlfriends!
    I hear the church bells from our nearby church! It’s 12:00! Has anybody else heard the bells? Let’s join hearts and hands together and pray for God’s strength and peace to fill the emptiness felt by those dear folks in Newtown.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m right with you Linda! Hand to hand . . .

    • Pamela Jo says:

      I have a Lutheran church in my back yard and hear those beautiful bells each day at noon and again at 6:00 pm. It is such a comfort and I find peace in those bells. Here at this church, the bells chime the hour and then play two hymns. I have marked many happy days and sad days by those bells. Always, they have comforted me. Last Friday evening, the hymns played were “Amazing Grace” and “Nearer My God To Thee.” I listened to them with tears in my eyes and a very sad heart, and so remember exactly what was played. Tonight, the songs were Christmas Carols…”I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” and then “Oh, Holy Night.” Very comforting. From several of my windows, I can also see the illuminated steeple and the lovely stained glass cross on the front of the church. Each night before I go to sleep, I look at those and say a prayer. I really hadn’t thought much about it before reading your post, as the bells and church have always been there and have always been a part of my life. Now I realize what a comfort it has always been to me and I have a new appreciation for the good fortune to live where I do. I would be lost without those bells. Thank you for making me appreciate the peace and comfort they offer!
      Pamela Jo

      • sbranch says:

        Me, too Pamela Jo, a church across the street, the steeple and bells, just love it, always stop to listen.

  6. Cindy Holshouser says:

    Thank you for this post. I really appreciate the way you provided links for us that address some of the issues/problems. It brings back memories of when our 4 police officers were gunned down 2 years ago. It’s more than my heart can take! It felt good to read your thoughts and ideas:)

  7. Dayna Arbiso says:

    Thank you so much for this much needed post, Susan and for the thoughtful comments by all the “girlfriends.” It took a while for me to shake the deep depression this tragedy brought on and move to the feeling that we must take action. Thank you for providing the links to facilitate meaningful action. I know that loving hearts can conquer the toughest problems and in that spirit, Happy Holidays to all and may we have the brightest of New Years!

  8. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    Susan~great post, great info. Thanks for sharing…you made it easier for us to make our contacts.

    I look forward to you doing your “real job, ” because that is truly one of the ways we should be honoring these lost innoncent souls…living the life that is a privilege to all of us. Another way, is just an act of kindness…on any level. How about paying for the car behind you when you go through the Starbuck’s Drive-Thru? Trust me…it will warm your heart.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been on both sides of that … giving, and then being surprised because someone did it for me once. A little thing, but it just makes your day!

      • Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

        Same here, Susan. 🙂

        • Laura says:

          Spent the day making cinnamon streusel coffee cake and lots of batches of my Grandma’s cookies for my husband to take to work. Made your sugar cookies too Susan! Lots of the young men he works with are single and far from home at the holidays. Trying to do something to maybe lift another heart. They may be a little extra salty as a few tears fell in. Xoxo

    • Lynn McMahon says:

      ~ Hi~
      I will be baking MORE Christmas cookies!
      It was on my heart this morning to share my great abundance with those less fortunate than myself. ~ We have a hospitality center at a local church which is open to everyone ~but is frequented mainly by homeless or near homeless people and the lonely ~ So this Friday a friend and I will be dropping off homemade cookies, tea and hot chocolate and meeting our ” brothers and sisters”.
      ~My little way of sharing the true meaning of the season~ letting the light overcome the darkness~

  9. Marie (Williamsburg, Virginia) says:

    To Linda from Lancaster, Pa. Thanks for a sweet memory. I wish we had church bells ringing every day.You brought me back to a childhood memory…saying the Angeleus, as the church bells rang each day at noon.

    Thanks, Girlfriend!

    Marie xo

  10. Marie says:

    Thank you for this post and for providing the links. I listened to the President’s news conference this morning and I am in agreement. I am mystified however, by your reference to the “good guy who spoke out yesterday”. When I click on that link it says the page I requested cannot be found. Who is this person????? Can you please clarify this? Together I hope the American people can bring about needed change on this assault weapon issue. Thank you.

  11. Toni says:

    Dear Susan –
    Thank you so much for this post and the links that we can go to and send our thoughts. I think many of us have been in between tears and not knowing who to contact. This helps me find my voice and hope for some change. These children and teachers must not be forgotten. Thank you.

  12. Bobbie says:

    “I don’t think it’s about more gun control. I grew up in the south with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This (shooting) is about people who aren’t taught the value of life.” – Samuel Jackson

  13. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    I realize I’m probably in the minority here…have not read all the comments but they seem so far to be in favor of your post. I’m not in opposition to it…but your blog has always been a refuge for me from the problems of the “real world”; a “well of sweetness” from which to “feed our souls”, as you once termed it…I cut that quote out from your calendar and it’s inside my medicine cabinet, where I see it every day. I guess I am selfish, but I wish “real life” had not intruded here. I taught for 24 years and my heart is breaking for what happened…but I need a place to come to get away, and I feel like that has been breached. 🙁

    • sbranch says:

      I’m sorry Elizabeth, I only had two choices, say nothing (and suffer) and leave the blog quiet for a while, or make an offer of a place for others who were feeling like me. I couldn’t fake it and pretend, la la la, it’s Christmas, here’s cake, here’s kitty; I couldn’t go back to normal without bringing myself a little closure first. This was just too much, I was too sad. I consider what I have done here to be feeding my heart, for the appropriate moment. Thank you for your thoughtful comment; I promise it won’t always be this way!

      • Karen says:

        I agree with you Elizabeth. Susan, I think you could have expressed your sorrow and left the political debate out of it.

        • sbranch says:

          I think if you look at what I wrote on the post, you won’t see any politics there; there was a choice of petitions that may or may not be of interest to people of any political party, whether it be violent videos sold to children, mental health access, or laws about guns. There’s a video there with Joe Scarborough, a Republican, and his thoughts about what happened. I agree with him in every way. It became a political debate because somehow people equate “gun control” with politics. I don’t really feel that way about it, but others do and that’s their right; I wasn’t about to delete their comments just because I didn’t agree with them.

          • Laura says:

            Susan….I am proud of you. We, of course, don’t live in a bubble…we are all a part of each other and when one of us hurts, we all hurt. This is a part of our humanity…the best part. You show us the way and I am thankful for you…in happiness and in sorrow. Xoxo

          • sbranch says:

            Oh, thank you Laura … maybe it was the wrong thing to do, but it felt right at the time. I don’t regret it. I still think those links help more than they hurt.

          • Elaine in Toronto says:

            Susan, don’t ever doubt yourself. Being Canadian I don’t get a vote but I support you100%. When you act from the heart it is always the right decision.

          • sbranch says:

            I’m giving you a vote! 🙂

          • Karen E says:

            Gun control is a hot political issue, like it or not.

          • sbranch says:

            It shouldn’t be. There are children being killed every day. It should be addressed just from a common sense, mom and dad sort of way. Are you saying a gun owner’s freedom to buy an assault rifle is more important than the rights of those children to liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Is there no balance? I am willing look at it, everything has changed.

          • Karen E says:

            I’m not sure when I said anything about guns being more important than children. I didn’t give any indication of what my opinions are on gun control. All I said was I agree with what Elizabeth said and that gun control is a political issue. When I read your post this morning I was holding my sleeping 6 month old granddaughter in my arms. I value her life and happiness more than just about anything. To say that I don’t value the lives of the slain children (and adults for that matter) is just ridiculous and is exactly why I said this discussion is disappointing on your blog.

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            I’m glad you did the post, Susan. You expressed what you felt and also what a lot of the rest of us felt. I really applaud you for your stand–please know that you spoke for a lot of us. Always a tricky thing…but when you are speaking the truth, from the heart, it can’t be wrong to do…and somebody HAS to speak for those innocent children and adults and make their deaths not be in vain…

          • sbranch says:

            I couldn’t help myself. xoxo Thank you Pat.

          • Nancy D. says:

            Thank you for your thoughtful and heartfelt comments, Susan. You bring such joy and comfort to so many of us, and allow us to share our own stories. Your approach is always kind and considerate and quite humble. You never rant or whine or pontificate. You speak from the heart. Your heart. By doing so, you touch my heart. Thank you for sharing what is in your heart. You uplift mine!

          • sbranch says:

            You are so kind Nancy, thank you … I don’t think I quite realized what I was getting into. But I wouldn’t take it back. xoxo

          • Rebecca says:

            I’m not sure I’ve commented before, but I often visit Susan’s blog. I’m commenting today because I want Susan to know that rather than detracting from the warmth and positiveness I get from this site, I feel this post adds to it. Susan’s willingness to risk in order to help make sure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again emphasizes to me that every other positive thing she posts on this site is coming from a real place, from a pure heart. Knowing this multiplies the power of all those positive, happy posts by at least 1000 percent!

          • sbranch says:

            How kind of you to say that Rebecca. ♥

  14. laurie says:

    Our laws are a bit different, as a Canadian I admire the passion you have concerning this.

  15. Dawn from Minnesota says:

    hi Susan….not sure if you will get this…. as my computer keeps getting hacked into when I try to send a comment….. so I will keep it short…… “thank you!”
    and I appreciate YoU!!!

  16. Suzanne says:

    Thank you

  17. Lucy says:

    Hello Susan,
    Thank you so much for your blog with all the links. It helps so much to do something meaningful when our hearts are broken and helplessness wants to seep in. I’m so glad you wrote what you did. You are a woman of action – and we all can be. It was comforting to come to your blog and be led to do something that may touch the future in a positive way. Please keep writing. We love what you give the world. I shared with my family your blog and the 26 good things. You could see and feel the relief in their faces.
    Thank you.
    XO, Lucy

  18. Karen E says:

    I have to disagree. Guns are not the problem. I could live in a house full of every kind of gun imaginable and I would never use one to take a life. It would never enter my mind to shoot the guy who cut me off on the highway or that has a different political opinion than mine. I would never shoot someone because they have something I want but don’t have. In fact I don’t know if I could even use one to defend my own life. The problem is the decay of morals and values in the country and the world for that matter. It is the lack of respect for another human life. Depending on when you believe life begins, you could say that there are too many innocent children murdered every day through abortion. Gang members don’t think twice about taking the life of another as a rite of passage and other meaningless reasons. Do they do it because someone puts a gun in their hand or because something is missing or wrong in their life? Do they do it in a desparate attempt to feel like they are part of a “family” because they don’t have one otherwise? It is way too soon to determine why this young man did what he did, and we may never know. But I would guess that whatever was missing or wrong in his life started long before he hatched a plan to murder innocent children. If guns weren’t available to him he would have found another way. He could have made a bomb from easily accessable chemicals. So when we ban guns and someone makes a homemade bomb to accomplish the same end, do we then ban those chemicals? Where does it end? Drugs are illegal and are still easy to get. If guns are illegal the only people who won’t have them are law abiding citizens. The criminals and killers will still get them. The bottom line is when something as horrendous as this lastest school shooting happens people need something to blame, to channel our anger and sorrow into. We feel the need to do something to fix the problem. Unfortunately there is no fix for the evil in our world. It will always be here and I’m afraid it will only get worse. So what is the answer? The only answer I can some up with is to pray. Pray for the families of the victims and their community. Pray for your own family, your neighbors, your coworkers, etc. And give them a hug and tell you love them and how important they are to you. And then act like it. Be kind to a stranger. Show the world that God is alive and well in each of us. Kindness and love are the answer to the question “what can I do”, not gun control.
    As a side note I think that this blog entry and the comments here are rife with inaccuraccies. But don’t take anyone elses word for it, mine or Susan’s. Do your homework and make your own decisions regarding gun control.

    • sbranch says:

      But Karen, you are not mentally ill. There is a difference, it has been mentally ill people with access to violent videos and assault rifles that have been causing so many problems. I agree, do your homework. Google other countries, see where we fit in the big picture, see how Australia handled it. Other civilized countries with tighter controls on guns, have much less violent cultures, it’s just a fact. We are the most violent country in the world by far. Thirty thousand people die from gunshots in this country every year. There is a wonderful quote, “Pray to God but Continue to Row toward Shore.” I’m hearing you say, let’s just let this pass. No changes. Leave it as it is. I don’t get that. I don’t even understand the argument.

      • pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

        karen i would have to say that some of what you say is right, in this world there is an appalling lack of respect for human life, and for anything that is good and decent. are guns the answer….no. but this is not about the guns, its the fact that anyone be they completely healthy or mentally ill has access to dangerous assault rifles and i for one cannot comprehend why anyone would want one. all we are saying in here is to leave the assault rifles where they belong.. in the service of the military or law enforcement….not in the hands of the general public. we are asking for change in the mental health care system which right now is just about non-existent. we ar asking for parents to not buy that violent video game or video for their kids to watch or play and to please monitor what they are watching. i think if some parents today sat down with a notebook and pencil and watched what their children watched on tv, they would be in for the shock of their lives as to the amount of violence and killing that is done in them. i can remember back to a time when people thought Bugs Bunny was violent, too violent for kids to watch and so they tried to censor it. they also thought the same of Tom and Jerry cartoons, by today’s standard those cartoons are very tame and mild comared to some i have seen kids watch on tv. to say just pray is good, but its not enough. i was once told that to pray is best answer, but the sometimes the good lord helps those who help themselves, well in this case we are trying to help ourselves have a better world for the kids to live in. to just pray and let this pass is wrong, we need to start making changes, and talking and doing are just the beginning. we are creating ideas and opinions, from there we hope actions that will help to shape the laws that lawmakers will decide on to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. i hope no parent ever has to go through this again…ever.

      • Laura says:

        “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. Edmund Burke….one of my heroines is Miep Gies… Did she sit by when the Nazis threatened her friends? No, she did all within her power to do right… With great personal risk and dedicated the rest of her life to promoting human rights around the world. AND , she always described herself as “just a housewife from Amsterdam”. She didnt do what she did for monetary gain, noteriety or political glory… She just did what was right. I am with Edmund, Miep and Susan… We have to TRY.

      • Deborah says:

        The key fallacy of so-called gun-control laws is that such laws do not in fact control guns. They simply disarm law-abiding citizens, while people bent on violence find firearms readily available.

        If gun-control zealots had any respect for facts, they would have discovered this long ago, because there have been too many factual studies over the years to leave any serious doubt about gun-control laws being not merely futile but counterproductive.

        Places and times with the strongest gun-control laws have often been places and times with high murder rates. Washington, D.C., is a classic example, but just one among many.

        Sandy Hook is a mental health care issue, not a gun control issue. We need to address that.

        • sbranch says:

          You’re wrong Deborah. The way to know if “gun-control” works is to see what has happened in other countries when they adapted better background checks, etc. I read about a massacre in Australia, afterwards the moms and dads stood up and did something, and it resulted in a complete change. It’s not just Australia, we are the most violent country on this earth, by far. You can Google it; it’s in the numbers in black and white, you can see for yourself. You are right, we have a terrible mental health system too, put the two together, it’s a recipe for disaster. How could it possibly hurt to have assault weapons taken off the street? The only one it hurts is the NRA and the gun manufacturers they represent. It’s the money, it’s always the money.

    • S says:

      Karen E please go away. This isn’t the venue for your propaganda.

      • Susan Roubal says:

        Amen. Love Susan’s quote “Pray to God but continue to row to shore”! We can be sensible women here. Love to all.

  19. pat addison (cave junction,OR) says:

    just wanted to add a little something here for all the girlfriends and you susan to remember, its the words to a song from “White Christmas” called counting your blessings: when i’m worried and i can’t sleep; i count my blessings instead of sheep; and i fall asleep counting my blessings. when my bankroll is getting small; i think of when i had none at all; and i fall asleep counting my blessings. i think about a nursery; and i picture curly heads; and one by one i count them; as they slumber in their beds. if you’re worried and you can’t sleep; just count your blessings instead of sheep; and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings. hope that helps everyone to remember to count your blessings and be thankful for them. we all have alot to be grateful for, and we are so grateful to you susan for letting us speak out on this tragedy and vent what we were feeling, its now time for healing, and moving on. they won’t be forgotten, we will remember . peace everyone. hugs…… 🙂

  20. Lynn McMahon says:

    ~Hi Again~
    After reading all the comments I have come to realize ~unless we can come to some “reasonable compromise” we will yet again be waiting for any type of action.
    As I stated before, I have worked with our fragile population of people with mental illness and various brain disorders ~ I have had my life threatened and been injured ( thank God mot seriously) by these fragile people more than once~ anything within their reach can become a weapon~ even their own bodies.
    ~Medications and therapies help, a safe living environment and a caring community are all key in keeping themselves and the public safe~ we need to take action here first I think.~
    Unfortunately~ people do not have to take their medications, go to therapy or live in and be cared for in a stable support system~ it is their right. ~Please pray for them~
    ~We must also realize that there are some people who have no regard for human life~ the people who drive drunk, those who text while driving~ all potential killers as well~ killers of our teachers, our beautiful children, our families and our friends.~ Please pray for them~
    ~Any life taken too soon~ by weapon violence or just complete disregard of human life is a tragedy to me.~
    ~Thank you again Susan for letting ALL our views be expressed~your blog is still my
    “Happy Place” even when times are not happy~

  21. Charlene H. (S.F.Valley) SoCal says:

    Hang in there, Susan…
    It’s always coldest before the dawn…

    • evangeline says:

      because we women…are a “passionate” breed…..often our words and actions “rush out of us” before we have time to think….we care, we love, we fight, and we……….hold nothing back……!! How can we?? when such horror is played over and over in every possible communication mode available……Our arms become empty when we see these precious treasures (the little children) gone from their mothers arms…many of us have had to say goodbye to one of our own “precious” treasure so we re-live the unspeakable sorrow…over….and over………so how can we be “silent”…even if we think strongly about “how” the problem could or should b fixed or what could have prevented it..etc.. it is not simple but yet it is………..when it comes to the end of the (our) day……what really matters most…….we as humanity and especially the “sisterhood” are united ….. we all want for a world that brings peace..long lasting “heart peace”….I can’t change the world……but I can make a conscience deliberate choice…whatever the day brings me…… to be a better person to everyone in my own “little” world…. Susan, I have waxed philosophical…ha! I want to thank you for “who” God has made you….your heart shows…you give so much rich love…it draws so many of us to you and we want to be with us as much a possible…remember “we are ALL in this together” and we your girlfriends “have your back”…with love evangeline……

      • sbranch says:

        Oh thank you Evangeline. I’m starting to see things differently, I’m asking myself, how does it help? Is it good for children, moms and dads, kids, families, for the earth, for the animals, for the health of the nation? If not, then I don’t want it. If it’s good for us, then that’s what I want. We can make this the kind of utopia we dream about.

  22. It has been reassuring to read all the comments from the girlfriends on this post. I believe what you wrote Susan, has helped many. It has made me feel less alone in my shock and disbelief of what happened. The outpouring of thoughts here tell me that there is an “army” of us who intend for something to be done to safegaurd our people, especially the children from sick minds who would do the worst. We will not forget!!!

  23. Ken Schultz - - Cathy from Maryland´s husband says:

    Susan, I congratulate you for your willingness to have this much needed discussion. As a father and a Vietnam Veteran, I feel that something is missing from this discussion, the horrible, terrible facts of this carnage. First, the AR-15/M-16 is not a gun, it is a weapon. Any Army or Marine veteran will tell you the difference. Second, the weapon used was converted (illegally) from semi-automatic to fully automatic. Conversion kits are available for little money and very cheap. This weapon will fire a full 30 round clip in one second. Changing clips takes another second. The bullet travels at 3000 feet per second. One bullet will go through a child and kill again and again. In a closed environment like a classroom, this high speed bullet will ricochet off any solid object, desks, walls, floor, whatever — not once, but several times. One boy had eleven wounds. A single round is devastating to a grown man. The damage to a six or seven year old body is beyond description. I am sure that many of the funerals were closed caskets due to the massive damage. Anyone that feels that these weapons should be legal should be forced to see the absolute carnage and bloody results of hundreds of rounds fired into 20 little children at very close range. I guarantee that it will sicken them and stay with them for the rest of their life.

    • sbranch says:

      Ken, I got to your second sentence and out of my mouth came I love you, I love you, I love you. Those are horrifying facts. But they are true — and our understanding needs to be complete to be able to do something for change. Thank you.

    • Kristin in San Diego says:

      Thank you Ken!!

    • Kelly says:

      I realize I am a day late and a dollar short, but I came here just to look at Susan’s art and found this blog post and was totally enraptured. My boyfriend and I, for months, have been trying to figure out what is wrong with a country that values these weapons, not guns, but weapons over the lives of young children. A country that has mistaken “liberty” for selfishness and paranoia.

      Our founding fathers had no idea when they wrote the Second Amendment that one day a madman would have the ability to go inside a classroom and use a killing machine — not a gun, but a killing machine — to slaughter innocent children. They had muskets in mind. Not 30 rounds in mere minutes.

      Furthermore, even if they had killing machines in mind when they wrote the SA, they still added these words “A well regulated militia.” There is *nothing* well regulated about a bunch of mad men being able to buy whatever weapon they please without a background check.

      This conversation, since the death of these innocent children, has become so ridiculous, so selfish, so absolutely telling of how far off the cliff this country has become, that I feel that it’s near impossible to do what’s right for this country. But I hope that’s not the case. I hope that the loonies and the selfish people who have traded the word “liberty” for selfish acts of insanity can finally be tempered by sensible people who value true liberty and a democracy that says that most people in this country think it’s absolutely sensible and mandatory that this country begin to close loopholes in gun laws, complete thorough background checks and limit military style killing machines to military use.

      And finally, the idea that you can rise up against your government in a revolution with street guns proves that the people making these assertions are either delusional or just uneducated. The government has drones, SAMs, tanks, etc. etc. Your silly revolution will be a blip and quite frankly, most of us don’t want to rise up against our government. Especially those of us who have lived in other countries and seen what true tyranny is. For all our problems and squabbles, this country allows you to do some amazing things. Look at Susan’s blog. Look at her ability to make art and make money from that art. Your paranoid visions of a dystopic society are just that: paranoid delusions. And they are hurting us all — including small children who should damn well still be enjoying life.

      • sbranch says:

        Well said, Kelly. It seems like such common sense. But if you only get your news from the gun lobby, then you would naturally believe that they aren’t just talking about assault weapons and background checks, you would very likely believe the lie that they want to take away all guns. I don’t know how you get the truth to seep through. As always, follow the money: Who makes money on assault rifles and big clips. There’s your answer.

  24. Alice in Wisconsin-land says:

    Susan, your blog has been on my mind since I first read it Tuesday night and the many replies. Surely those who object to gun control (let’s think SENSIBLE gun control) aren’t so selfish as to say “Don’t take any of MY guns away” … I have many cherished collections albeit nothing that could be considered dangerous in the wrong hands … but I would be willing to give up every one of my beloved “things” if it could help protect even one person. Perhaps it sounds too simplistic, but basic lack of consideration for others surely is a huge factor that there are so many of these situations happening.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, we all live here. Balanced thoughtful discussion can’t be a bad thing. BTW, I love your name “Alice in Wisconsin-land!”

  25. Linda from Lancaster, Co PA says:

    you are still my sweet Susan. Thank you for caring!!
    Love ya!

  26. Florence Rozler;Lancaster,N.Y. says:

    The poen to Night before Christmas was the biggest touch to me than all the news reporting I’ve heard so far. The reporters on Fox news broke my heart days after, when this hit them, and they cried when reporting . Men aswell as women could not hold back. We have a lot to think about, it’s like that look you remember Mom or Dad gave you when you did wrong! GOD has given us the look. We will heal but let us never forget. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all !!!

  27. Ieva Ersts says:

    Twenty beautiful, innocent children are dead as well as six dedicated teachers. You are right,Susan, this disaster has to be addressed. We as a society have to look at ourselves and evaluate what we need to do better. We , as a whole, need to commit to helping the emotionally challenged to receive the care that they need. We need to nurture and support entertainment that does not promote violence as an enjoyable pass time. And, yes, we must examine how many guns and what kind of guns do we really need. As the old year draws to a close and the shortest day comes bringing the promise of a new year and new beginnings, let’s work toward extending a hand of kindness and gentleness to all.

  28. Betty says:

    Thank you so much for sharing different opinions. I personally hope and pray that wiser
    people than I can come up with answers. We need to heal but we must not forget the
    precious children and the brave adults who lost their lives in such an obscene way.

    Thank you, again, for giving us this opportunity.


  29. Liz Thompson says:

    Susan, I love your quote at the end of the blog today – and it can apply to anything in which we strongly believe.

    Don’t worry folks – our 2nd amendment rights will survive. It’s the assault-style rifle that should be limited – and I think it will. But, as the President said – it’s not just about tighter gun control, it’s about access to mental health care. It’s about greater security at our schools – because guns aren’t the only way to hurt people. We have to spend money for this. That’s the way it is.

  30. Gloria says:

    THANK YOU for the post about what we can do individually to participate in a collective groundswell for change toward the future we want for our children, our grandchildren, and ourselves. I would like to live in a future more like the one you pour out on your beautiful blog and in your books. I would like that for the next generations. Not acknowledging this contentious issue and the accumulating horrific outcomes, because it is ugly and messy and depressing to do so, gives the outsized problem leeway to again be swept under the carpet of not wanting to think too much about its gruesome and heartbreaking results.


    Thank you for being a “good” and “sensible” woman and for engaging your girlfriends to consider the dire matter thoughtfully along with you.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, it takes just as much energy to say Yes as it does to say NO. To open the door, rather than closing it. It’s easier, I guess, to give up, look away, choose to keep the status quo, but how can we? There’s a quote I just love and say all the time, “If you like the way things are going, just keep doing what you’re doing.”

  31. Pamela Jo says:

    I commend you for your post regarding the tragedy in Connecticut. I grew up in a family of many hunters. I grew up in a house which had many types of guns. However, I have never known one single, serious, hunter who ever used an assault weapon. We were taught to respect guns and to respect and treasure life. Sadly, we now live in a society which appears to be losing it’s conscience.

    I was a teacher for 30 years and witnessed firsthand the deterioration of the innocence of the childhood many of us were so fortunate to experience. I chose to leave the teaching profession a few years ago because I no longer saw a love for learning in the eyes of the children. There were too many other emotional issues which became the focus of children and their families. I saw many things which were not at all positive., and I could list many, many reasons for this. I will only say that it is a sad fact that the world is a very different place today than it was for those of us from the “older generation” who did not have to deal with violence and fear as a part of everyday life. We were lucky. Children today are not able to live a carefree life…Again, a sad fact. There are so many who are deeply troubled, and that issue must be dealt with. However, we must remove the means of destruction those individuals use to further destroy our society. We do not need assault weapons. They serve no purpose except harm.

    As a society, and as individuals who still have a conscience, I believe we MUST take a stand when it comes to making this world a better, and safer, place. I believe your are very correct to address this issue. I applaud you for doing so. You did “the right thing” and that is what each of us must do. If we do what we can now, perhaps we CAN make a difference. We are obligated to try. Thank you for your post!

    Pamela Jo

    • sbranch says:

      Try is my very favorite word. xoxo Thank you Pamela Jo.

    • Elizabeth in Montana says:

      Pamela Jo, I taught for 24 years and saw the same things taking place…disinterested students, disengaged parents, and a breakdown in respect for teachers. Teaching now is very different from when I started in 1986, fresh out of college and sure I was going to set the world on fire. I would not advise anyone to go into education.

  32. Julie Marie says:

    Oh Susan… how sad I am to see so many of the comments that condemn you for writing this post… one of my favorite quotes is “Follow your heart… it knows the way”… you followed your heart… you needed to post this… for yourself… and for all of us who could not find the words to say what you did… YOU did not turn anything into a political debate… the ones who left those comments did… didn’t their mamas ever teach them if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all… maybe they weren’t listening… I said it in an earlier comment, and I will say it again… I love you… and all of the “nice” girlfriends who read this post in the context it was written… xoxo Julie Marie

    • sbranch says:

      It was a surprise to me! But look at all the positive things that were said. It’s like that glass of clear water … billions of drops, and only one of arsenic needed to ruin it. I see just the beautiful clear drops . . .

      • Karen says:

        Susan how can you compare someone who dares to disagree with you arsenic and then talk about love. I am baffled beyond words at your comments simply because someone has a different opinion. When you start the discussion about gun control on a blog where people can comment you invited discussion. So are you saying if you disagree keep it to yourself but if you agree feel free to comment? You should have spelled that out for us. You accused me if placing no value on the lives of those children which I found very hurtful. I just don’t understand why people have to go into vicious attack mode when someone expresses a different opinion.

        • sbranch says:

          Some of the comments were very harsh. Which I can’t understand. I just hoped we could talk. Simple differences in opinion are fine, of course, no problem, but the attack mode that came with a relatively few of them, that’s hard to hear. I don’t feel like I’m a bad person. I don’t accuse you, I bring up the question that we are all trying to figure out, what are our priorities. What comes first. Besides, I just don’t feel like having a nonsensical contentious argument about it. If you don’t like the idea of better mental help, checks of who is buying assault rifles, things like that, that’s fine. I put them there for people like me, like I said in my very first sentence, “If you’re like me and feel like you want to do something …” If you don’t, that’s just fine with me.

          And by the way, the drop of arsenic that ruined that entire glass of clear water was the mentally ill person with the assault weapon.

  33. Breathe and be thankful for each and every day……it’s beginning to look/feel a lot like Christmas and soon there will be joy and glad tidings and people walking around wishing one another “Merry Christmas”….This season represents love, hope, happiness, and most of all children all snug in their beds dreaming about sugarplums and the little giggles of excitement they just cannot contain heard around this land. Blessings to all the little children who give all of us hope for the future…..Merry CHRISTmas and Happiness to Everyone!!!! Blessings

  34. Lynne says:


    Thank you so much for posting these links. It’s been so frustrating to feel so helpless in all of this, the idea that we carelessly sell weapons whose only purpose is to kill other human beings just makes me crazy, it helped to sign those petitions.
    Thank you.

  35. Tracy L says:

    I agree that controlling guns is not the answer. Controlling those mentally ill is a start to the answer. Being a teacher, I have seen far too many children that seriously needed psychological help and the schools don’t follow through with any type of real help. They make it sound like they do, but it just doesn’t happen. These children grow up to be the Columbine and Sandy Hook killers. We just turn our heads and hope it all turns out okay. We need places to put these individuals even if it makes us uncomfortable as a society. Remember they were all closed down many years ago. If it means saving lives, it is an important step.

  36. Karyl Dawn says:

    In case you do not know anything about it – our country is being put into Agenda 21 mode and this is just helping them get it done. Look up and read about it. Our country was formed for religious freedom and our rights. Agenda 21 is going on right underneath our noses. It is very sad. I am praying for our country more than ever.

    • sbranch says:

      PLEASE, do not come here with fear-mongering web sites. We are talking about the lives of children, teachers, parents. Real lives. You do understand don’t you, that it is not against the law for people to say anything? It is perfectly legal to LIE. They can set up entire websites of fear-controlling lies, they can say anything on the radio, they can even have “news” that tells lies — all of this is perfectly legal; do not believe everything you hear or read; it is up to YOU to feed your heart and soul from the well of sweetness, and choose the light.

      • Karyl Dawn says:

        The United Nations started it, not me. I am just pointing it out- Do not get upset with me. I am not doing it at all. Yes it is real – ASK OUR MILITARY- they are the ones telling us to beware!

        • sbranch says:

          You serve the world by not spreading it. I’m sorry, but I feel so bad for folks who believe this stuff. It’s awful. We had a Viet Nam Vet leave a comment yesterday, near yours Karyl — check it out, he has something to say too.

          A few minutes ago they showed a map of Minnesota on TV, and the three counties where schools are closed right now because of rumors of an apocalypse! Right NOW, that’s going on in our country! They truly believe, to the point of closing the schools, that the world is going to end any minute. See what “belief” can do? It’s up to us to know better. Shame on those that would spread these rumors.

          • Pat Mofjeld from St. Paul, Minnesota says:

            Oh dear, in Minnesota? I thought we were smarter than that here… LOL! 🙂

          • sbranch says:

            LOL! I wondered when you would react to that! 🙂

          • Kelly says:

            I agree. Disgusting what these paranoid schizophrenic people are doing to this country.

            I love you so much after reading your comments, Susan! Think I will be treating myself to a Susan Branch book this weekend. I love to support those that support people, not things. And you have proven that with this post.

          • sbranch says:

            Sweet of you to say that Kelly. I do feel sick at heart at all the violence, but those little children just put me completely over the top.

  37. Laura says:

    Big Hugs Susan!!!!

    You so often say just what I need to hear, or what I”d like to say (but you say it so much better.)

    (Waukegan, IL)

  38. S says:

    Susan you are an intelligent and sensitive human being. I very much appreciate where you’re coming from. I signed all the petitions. Yes, I grew up with guns in our house too. That’s exactly why I would ban ALL guns.

  39. Cindy M says:

    All I can say is this madness needs to stop! My father was in the military and we were always taught to respect weapons. I don’t think that anyone other than military and police should have assault weapons. Assault weapons were
    made for one thing only, to harm and kill people! I know the famous saying guns don’t kill people, people do! well, the guns in the wrong hands do kill people. we need tougher laws regarding guns. Guns should not be sold to someone without a back gound check period! Nothing is worse than losing a child nothing!!! My heart goes out to all the family members that have lost a love one. God help them and bring them some peace and comfort. Thank you for putting the info on your blog it helps to be able to do something to hopefully bring some changes. My heart broke again today, on yahoo news a little 6yr old wrote a letter to his slain friend so sad that this child and hundreds like him had to witness this atrocity it will change their lives forever.

  40. Susan says:

    I agree with what Susan did in her posts on this issue. After living through Columbine, I just had to write my dissertation on what happened to the two students who killed the others. I was influenced by Rachel Kesler’s book The Soul of Education. One thing of interest I found was the extreme lack of connection to others. Parents who both worked, bullied at school, in essence extreme lack of attention by most of the significant people in their lives.

    As a teacher of over 39 years, I know we pay attention to the cognitive and physical abilities of our students, but why not their spirits? I’m not talking religion here, but the inner world of the child accessed through meditation, yoga, or prayer. So many students are empty and unaware of a higher power. Drugs ease that pain for many. So sad, why do we only teach what we can supposedly measure? Why can’t we teach children to value their own humanity?

    Thank goodness there are people like you, Susan, who are not afraid to stick out their necks and say what needs to be said! Love you:-)

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Susan … I love your ideas about spiritual health … it can be taught. But we barely get the regular stuff in schools these days with all the budget cuts … they seem to find money for war, but not for schools.

  41. Nancy says:

    I just came back to check on the discussion and I saw the link to Joe Scarborough. I had heard his comments before and saw the show the day he made them. Let’s hope there are others who can be thoughtful and brave enough to say, “I was wrong.”

    Now Nightline is talking about the move to arm teachers. Help us, please.

    • sbranch says:

      I know, I laugh because it’s so insane. I’m vowing to pay better attention, this just can’t happen.

  42. Wendy Louise says:

    Dear Susan, Please don’t fret, what you have done here is so very healthy for every one, even those with different opinions. I see and understand your stand without politics, it’s called common sense from the heart. The issues are so complicated because we live in a very complicated society, if only it were simple. Simple things are easier and better to understand. I have taught Parenting to Adults for over 22 years, and what I have found is everyone thinks so differently. I teach it from all different angles and your not going to please everyone 100% of the time. All you can do is try. I teach Parenting to help the children, and this unimaginable deed has cut me to my core. But, we have to move on for the children and show them the way. We have to rise above this insanity and do what is right, all in our own way. We will go back to finding Joy in all the small places and share it with everyone we can. My God wants us to. Thank you for this most wonderful place to be. 🙂 OXOX

    • sbranch says:

      What a great thing you do Wendy Louise, teaching parenting! I always wondered, even when I was there, why they don’t teach that in high school! More people will be parents than will be mathematicians! (not saying we don’t need math! 🙂 ) Thank you!

  43. ElFe says:

    Thank you, Susan, for the info. Please leave it accessible for a while so we can spread the word and get more people involved. My husband and I have been feeling so helpless and inadequate. For want of any clear path to achievement we lighted a candle which will remain lighted throughout the holiday season. Just a small light in the darkness as a reminder. But thanks to you, we may now do something far more constructive. I am so glad you stepped away from your “job” for a moment to get serious; although I suspect that we will need your “light” more than ever in the days ahead. Thank you. P.S. Have you read the article, “I am Adam Lanza’s Mother?” It’s POWERFUL!

    • sbranch says:

      I know every word she is saying is true . . . I am Adam Lanza’s Mother — What can she do? The sad truth is, we cut mental health facilities out of the budget, so mentally ill people end up in jail; the tax payer foots the bill for these added beds in the jail, we’re paying for it anyway, so much for cutting the budget, but there is no help there. I used to see the world in black and white, and now I know it’s only shades of grey, and I don’t mean the book. Thank you ElFe, for your helpful comment.

      • Joan Lesmeister says:

        I pray that some of you from this blog, will be the ones who will appear in hearings when our government starts revisiting the laws for guns & the mentally ill. Your words are beautifully written & I know you’d be able to speak eloquently for those of us who aren’t quite so gifted! The mentally ill deserve the same level of health care as people with other diseases, such as cancer, & heart disease. Bless you all for trying! xoxo

  44. Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

    Susan, Never give it another thought that you should have done any different with your blog durning this horrific, tragic time. Information shared let me have a voice.Thank You sooooo very much for being able to know how to assist us. Every day I cry, and every day I pray for these little souls, the teachers and all involved,family, loved ones and for the first responders. Gun Laws don’t work and this proves it.
    This mother of the gunman is where all the blame for this tragic event lies. She made poor choices to take a child with his mental condition to a gun range and if this boy looked in person as in the photos shown, then I ask where were
    the ones in charge of the range? They could clearly see there was something wrong with him. They could have talked to the mother and denied the two of them access. Then where were the relatives who had knowledge of what she was doing? I have many questions…… This has been my special place to come and be able to have a voice of enjoyment and now a voice in this because you cared.
    Calling the White House yesterday and having a real person there to listen to me and them saying they would relay my thoughts to the President, has helped me to do something. Again, Thank you Susan from the bottom of my heart, that you have allowed us this time on your blog. You don’t have to post this.

  45. Cindy Tuning says:

    I just have to add my two cents here. We all (I assume) love you and your blog because you are REAL. I’m so glad you started this discussion and that friends can vent their thoughts. That’s what friends do…not everyone has to have the same opinion. So many comments seem to want you to be one dimensional . I would have been disappointed if the last two posts would have been about anything else. Thank you for not being a Stepford Wife…..I for one appreciate it and love you more for it!

    • sbranch says:

      LOL. Stepford wife! I may err on the other side of that one!

    • Betty Marie, Pennsylvania says:

      Hi Cindy, Let me give you my background. My hubby is a retired game commission officer. He has also been a police officer and his father was a gunsmith and at one time he was third highest sharp shooter in this country. They both have been members of the NRA. My father fought in World War II and brought back a gun. All my life I have been with guns in my home. I have taken shooting lessons and I do enjoy being on the range from time to time. I haven’t read all the comments here but yours saying the last two comments is one demensionel and Stepford Wife. I am not trying to persuade any one, only saying Thank You to Susan.There is nothing in my comments about taking any ones rights away to have a regular gun. Infact I haven’t addressed anyone here, only expressing the pain the feel about yet another tragic shooting.

      • sbranch says:

        I don’t think anyone, at least not me, is expecting or wanting to take away “all guns” — that’s just not the thing. It’s those crazy machine guns. And let me say, I have gone target shooting, and I am a pretty darn good shot, and I love that center of the bullseye! 🙂

  46. Good morning Susan…..as we move closer to Christmas–just a holiday for some but for others it represents Light come into the world. Light that brought forgiveness and LOVE and HOPE. I’m sure what happened last week and all the other incidents that are still fresh in our minds and on our hearts, will weigh heavily on us all. I will also be thinking about all those who were affected personally by these events–those left to re-live the horror, especially the little children who don’t yet have a way “to do” something about it. For their sake, we all need to look into our own hearts and see what needs to be “fixed” there and then do our part in fixing what led to this sort of tragedy–whether it concerns mental illness, weapon laws, or more understanding and compassion in general towards people.

    Thank you for following your heart. One can never go wrong in doing so.

  47. Angie(Tink!) says:

    Thank You for Your Wonderful Words of Wisdom Sweetest Sue…You Make Me Feel Better Calmer Stronger…. I Love You My Sweet Sue! I’ve got The Christmas Carols On….after a Few Chores I will Bake more Scrumptious Christmas Treats! & watch another Christmas Movie! I will Twirl around Our Christmas Tree & Wrap More Christmas Presents! Yay! We are going to Get a REAL COLD~FRONT for CHRISTMAS! Yay! Tonight They are actually Bringing in REAL SNOW to Down~Town Winter Haven & I am Going with My Family & Friends! Yay! I will Be Making Snow~Angels & Throwing Snow~Balls In Florida! Amen! Now That is a Little Bit of Christmas Magic! God Bless Us…Everyone! Christmas Pixie~Dust Everywhere! Love & Joy to All & Have Yourselves a Merry Little Christmas….Now! xoxo Poof! 🙂

  48. Judy Ann from Georgia says:

    I love your blog, but please keep away from gun control issues and political issues. It only hurts people’s feelings who grew up with guns on farms for hunting and people like me who live alone for safety. When a drunk driver kills a family of five, is it the automobile’s fault? No it is the same issue…Do we shoot the impaired driver and ban alcohol? No…It is the same issue I believe…Why punish me and take away my rights for one or two degranged mentally ill people who were bent on total destruction whether he had a gun or a bomb? I don’t diminish the terrible tragedy of the victims and their families. I have cried and prayed every day for the families of these precious children and innocent people who were gunned down. I have two children and two grandchildren of my own. I would like to see stronger state laws when purchasing guns like stricter background checks for mental issues or maybe firearms training? But don’t take away my rights. Thank you for allowing my opinion also. God Bless you all and keep our brothers, sisters and children in your thoughts and prayers. Only God can give them peace in their troubled hearts to find any answers and peace in this world.

    • sbranch says:

      I know you mean well, but those clips that hold so many bullets, and assault rifles were built for one thing, to riddle people with bullets. That’s different than a car. If you read through the comments, no one wants to take your right to own a gun away. We have only been talking about the assault rifles and the clips full of bullets. Yes, stricter background checks, not selling to mentally ill people. Better help for mental help too. Not so many violent videos. I came from a hunting family too. I think that’s what the NRA must be saying, that people want to take away their rights. I’m just not hearing that.

    • Kelly says:

      No one is taking away your rights. You are allowed to have exactly what (and more) the Founding Fathers specified you could have in the Constitution. Nowhere did it say that anyone can own a killing machine. So, the idea that your rights are being stepped on is false.

      Checking backgrounds at gun shows and banning assault weapons isn’t taking away your rights. It’s protecting the rights of those of us who don’t want to live in a society where any nut can buy a military style weapon.

  49. Christine from Lafayette, CO says:

    If I may add my 2 cents worth ( and I expect I’ll get some change back) I have an observation to make. I have read nearly all the entries, a first for me. It is obvious that there are some strong opinions on the topic of “gun control”. The discussions are fueled by the tragedy of last week’s slaughter. Neither side is converting the other side. Susan has provided a safe place to vent our anger, frustration and sadness. Whether or not you take action to change/keep things the same is YOUR choice. Susan has provided some links. To click or not to click is YOUR decision. Once I stepped aside the political issues, I heard my girlfriends’ voices – so loud and compassionate! I feel more secure in the knowledge of our love for one another! Remember, time heals the pain – lets not tear each other apart while trying to fix it. In the end, we are all sisters. Much love! Peace! and Merry Christmas to everyone, especially Susan!

  50. mary spring says:

    …dear Susan…altho I see a new post to read I still had more to say on this post…firstly, thank you sincerely for your efforts….we will make a difference… and also, dear Wendy Louise, I’ve always enjoyed your sweet comments and your love for life…you mentioning your work with teaching parents how to be good parents is so important…I had the honor,so to speak, of working in our children’s shelter for over a year and a half and Lord knows, we need more people like you around !!!…thanks for all you do !!…now to go on to the next post…joyfully ..

    • sbranch says:

      How nice of you to say that … I love Wendy too. We do have a wonderful bunch of girlfriends, and I include the ones who don’t quite agree with my last post!

  51. Nancy in Ohio says:

    I agree with much of what has been said, and I disagree with some of what has been said. This national conversation will have many different opinions and the ONLY way we can come to resolution is by mutual respect. Please don’t malign others because their view point is different than your own. Let’s listen with our hearts and minds, and then compromise. I am a native So. Calif. and lived there 34 years, where no one I knew had guns, moved to Ohio where EVERYONE I know has guns. This debate is multi-faceted, and our solutions will be the same. My compassionate heart wants Karen E. to know that I value her opinion, as well as all others. I appreciate your compassionate hearts, and not just at this time of year but always, lets treat each other with decency. Merry Christmas!

  52. Marsha MacLean says:

    Bless you, Susan…
    I agree with what others said about the sense of calm we receive as a wonderful gift from you whenever you post anything, even in the midst of this horrible tragedy. Thanks for starting the conversation!
    Thank you, Marsha

  53. Kathy Ryan says:

    Susan, I must say that this blog brought such good energy and release in your approach and your intelligent responses to all the posts. I have been reading your books and Willard from close to the beginning and enjoy coming here for more of your appreciation of domestic life. Now, especially, I am so happy to know you are real, a real person with heart, who would not blithely go on as if your brand would be damaged unless you ignored this huge opportunity for a turning point in people’s consciousness, in the lives of all of us in this time of grief. The Heart of the Home is alive and real. Thank you.

  54. Love you Susan and family! It is a hard time.

  55. Diane says:


    I wasn’t able to read every post, but I feel we need to address violent video games and violent movies. It seems to me the violence has gotten so graphic on T.V. and movies it is incredible. Seriously, do we have to see all the blood etc. for the movie to be well made. I think most of us are women on here..the video games are beyond what we realize. This is an area that needs to be addressed.

    • sbranch says:

      I so agree Diane, thank you!

    • Kelly says:

      Got to say, I’m a video game enthusiast. And a woman. I play things such as Grand Theft Auto (oh yes, that one!) and Halo, both considered to be “violent video games.”

      I’m also a strong advocate of gun control. As is my gaming boyfriend. We believe that guns kill people, not video games. Art doesn’t have a trigger, nor a 30 round magazine. And yes, enthusiasts consider video games as art. Those who work in gaming go to art school to learn to write stories, draw and create characters and build fictional worlds, just like other artists. I feel that to blame ANY artist for a man going into a room with a gun is wrong and abhorrent. Let’s address the real issue here: weapons.

  56. cj says:

    wow, Susan, I’m just thinking of the good you did by providing all of us with those names and addresses, etc. I’m sure the power of the pen is much mightier than that of the sword thanks to you.

  57. Linda says:

    After reading most of the comments only one thought is left to me……..now don’t take this the wrong way anyone……..I am a single older lady confined 99% of the time to my home to caregive my 97 year old Mommy but I do hang out with the small neighbor kids and am a fairly well educated voter! My lingering thought is why is there so much mental illness now? Why are so many young people so in need of pills? What conditions have created so many children with Autism etc.? Maybe IN ADDITION to banning assault weapons we should dig deeper and figure out the cause for this? I was raised in the 40’s and 50’s and I can’t recall ONE child with any of these mental illnesses. We were all pretty nice kids with a few minor naughty moments. I hope someone can enlighten me as to why and if not maybe this should be AS IMPORTANT a topic? Bless you dearest Susan for letting all the girlfriends vent……..this is my last time as I am going to go hug my 2 darling doggies.

  58. Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

    What a horribly tragic coincidence that such a mentally unbalanced young man lived with a mother who had readily available weapons. I’m not sure we can ever get ahead of the problem by putting gun laws into effect because those who have the mental problems and those who have criminal intentions will always find the weapons they want. I agree that something must be done about the mental health issues. It’s not my intention to be on either side in this comment, however. My heart is broken, and I know everyone else’s is too. Our emotions are all over the place right now. I looked at every single picture of those lost, maybe some of you did too, for the sake of each family that provided one. It’s just one way to acknowledge that their loved ones are more than victims and names in the news. Twenty – seven grieving families. I like the way you handled the opposing side, Susan. A timely discussion is needed when things like this happen.

    • sbranch says:

      I’ve been thinking about the idea that they will always find a way .. it’s just too easy to think we don’t stand a chance, it makes us give up — those little people, their little faces, makes me think can do better. And certainly, as so many have said, we owe it to them to at least try. Wouldn’t that be a better way to acknowledge those young lives, those heroic teachers, to reach above ourselves and try? I truly believe in my heart, that if we want it, we can make it happen.

      • Susan ( an Ohio gal in SoCal ) says:

        I’m definitely in agreement that we have to try for some sort of solution. I’m retired from teaching and every time something like this happens, I think of the faces I used to see every day and know how painful it would have been to lose any of them.

  59. judy says:

    Thanks for posting this.
    I just cannot understand why assault rifles are allowed anywhere for any reason at all.
    You took a risk speaking out. Stay brave.

  60. Donita Sykora says:

    Susan: I so appreciated what you posted about this horrible tragedy. My heart breaks for the parents and families of the teachers but most especially for the children. How can anyone want to harm a child? They are gifts from God. When I read or hear about this tragedy I picture my son when he was 6 and 7 – I loved him [still do and will to my dying breath :)] more than my own life. He is the very reason I was put here on earth and it has been my greatest joy. I cannot imagine the grief and pain these parents are feeling and I can only pray for them every single day. Why that type of weapon is even available to the general public is a mystery to me. Why would anyone need something like that to begin with. I pray that we as a nation learn from this terrible tragedy and become better because of it. Anything less would be a travesty. Our children are our legacies and we need to do everything we can to preserve and protect that.

    I send you and Joe wishes for a very blessed Christmas and a happy New Year. I love your art and so enjoy reading your blogs. Looking forward to sharing your news in 2013! Wishing you the best always!!

  61. Elizabeth in Montana says:

    Now what I feared as a result of this post, has happened…someone who follows the blog is telling someone else to “go away, your propaganda isn’t wanted.” I have a lot of stress in my life…I’m three years out from uterine cancer; my husband is on disability due to a chronic illness; my mom is 89, lives with us, is in frail health and I’m so scared of losing her; ad infinitum, every day is a challenge. I always looked forward to the blog as a season of peace. What happened in CT is beyond horrible. I cannot imagine this happening to my students. I just feel sad.

    • sbranch says:

      Everyone got to say what they wanted, which is only fair and respectful; I actually thought it went rather well compared to some of the arguments that go on in congress! 🙂 I am so sorry Elizabeth, too many sad things. But you have Beautiful Montana and the healing that Mother Nature can bring, be sure to take deep breaths of air and find some birds to watch. I’m saying a prayer for you, and your mom. Wishing you every good thing!

      • Elizabeth in Montana says:

        We have a birdfeeder in the front yard, it provides joy to us and endless amusement to our four (indoor) kitties…but unfortunately no cardinals, just not present in Montana. I grew up in upstate NY and we had them all the time, my dad used to whistle their song and they would answer him! I have many, many blessings in my life…my husband is writing his first book, he’s on the last chapter, and I’m editing it! I didn’t mean to whine…I just love this blog and don’t want it to change! 🙂

        • sbranch says:

          It won’t change … just every once in a while, I’m sure something unavoidably real will happen … but since I do come downstairs every morning singing, I don’t suppose the joy part of it is going to go anywhere! Congratulations to your husband — I know what it takes to write a book and he deserves a pat on the back (at least! 🙂 ) Lucky him to have you for editor! All my best to you both!

    • Karen E says:

      Thanks Elizabeth for you caring words. This is the last time I will visit this blog because I believe that Susan could have refused to post that comment. I know not every comment was posted because I replied to “S” when she told me to go away and my reply was not posted. And just for the record all I said was that some people think it’s okay to express their opinion but if you diagree you aren’t welcome to do so. Makes me wonder if “S” is someone we all know. Or at the very least Susan agreed with what “S” said. As far as that goes Susan herself said some pretty harsh things to me. Things I’m sure she wouldn’t say to her girlfriends at a “TGIF” night, as she put it. Not the love I hear her expressing much of the time! So no matter, there are plenty of other blogs out there to enjoy! Maybe I’ll start my own! But I do feel better knowing that there are still kind people out there, like you Elizabeth! Hope you have a Merry Christmas!

      • sbranch says:

        I’m not refusing to post comments … but sometimes they do disappear and I’m sorry about that. I think lots of people disagreed with me, they were welcomed, were posted and often replied to; you too Karen. I am honest with my girlfriends, but I do think the written word, such as these comments and emails too, can easily be read as harsh without tone of voice and caring eyes to look at. I didn’t mean to be harsh with you Elizabeth. It’s off subject all this talk about me, when what we are talking about is assault guns, mental health, caring for children. But that’s what seems to happen when people feel unheard, it becomes personal. So sorry about that Karen.

      • Elizabeth in Montana says:

        Merry Christmas to you too, Karen.

  62. Karyl Dawn says:


    It is a REAL DOCUMENT –
    The Last I have to say-

    • sbranch says:

      I understand that; but did you read what Wikipedia said about it? It’s a good thing. Every lie has a kernel of truth in it; it’s what the conspiracy theorists are doing with it that bothers me. It’s up to you to choose what to believe in. If it’s willy nilly, an information-free zone and you have the choice of either Wikipedia, or some website out there with a doomsday message, which do you choose?

  63. Diane says:

    Yes, I used to have those angle bells when I was younger. Not sure what happened to it but am looking forward to getting them next year from you. Thank you for finding and caring them.

  64. Debbie Anderson says:

    Oh to have a pantry that is a room like yours!!!! My pantry is big but it is partly under a staircase and then juts out from there. My wonderful hubby built me more shelves and a wine rack that holds about 48 bottles. So I can’t really complain. Can’t wait for the new book. Have a merry, merry Christmas!

  65. Lorraine says:

    I admire your conviction in writing this blog post. Unfortunately, it is something that needs to be said. I am Canadian and own a Montessori preschool. Our whole school community continues to be devastated by this incident. When we look at the photos of the children (and teachers), we see the reflection of our own little students, all of them so full of promise and light. I know that things like this can happen in Canada and have. (The Montreal shootings come to mind.) When I visit the USA I often think anyone around me – at the shopping mall, museum, even Disney World – could be carrying a gun. As a Canadian on the outside looking in, it feels like a change for the better is coming.

    • sbranch says:

      I have never really thought about it before. People carrying guns, why? I would never imagine it. But I think you might be right! I love hearing that from you Lorraine, and even as an American, on the inside and experiencing grief for those children, I feel the same way. Change for the better is coming. Because we do have lots of people who want to see it.

  66. Judy from So.Cal says:

    God bless you Susan and Joe,,Your comments have helped in some measure to start the healing process,,I am a grandmother of five,mother of four and come to tears
    every time I think of what the parents of those children are going through,,we all need to do our part to see this never happens again,,thank you so much for your loving heart,,,,,Judy

  67. Shelly says:

    I live in Colorado, and after the Columbine shootings, the school district in which I live posts an armed police officer at every school for the entire school day. I believe what the NRA announced today is a great idea, and it has worked here in our schools. Some believe gun control is the answer, I do not. People, including the mentally ill, and criminals will not stop shooting people because there is a gun ban. They will always be able to find guns. There is a lot of evil in our society today. Perhaps we need to concentrate on mending the other areas of our lives–families, and getting back to God.

    • sbranch says:

      Well, did you know there were two armed guards at Columbine? .. and armed guards at Virginia Tech too … but assault weapons work so quickly and are so deadly, there isn’t always going to be time for the guards to get there.

      If I thought I could trust the common sense and mental health of every person with a gun I might be more inclined to agree with you. But people are people — you would have these guards go home at the end of the day, with their guns — what about their children? Do we trust the children of the guards with military assault weapons, because that’s what we would have.

      Here, you can read about how gun shows work.

      Compare other countries to us, it’s easy to do with Google; they face the same problems we do, and have tried different things, it’s interesting to see what has worked. We have too much violence here, we really do. Kids are killing kids with their parents guns. Yes, they should be kept locked up, but they aren’t.

      Anyway. It’s an interesting on-going conversation which I appreciate having the opportunity to discuss. Good people everywhere care about our children and our country. We are all on the same team … working toward the goal of a better world. Thank you for your comments Shelly!

  68. Mary Ann says:

    And if we wondered at all about the willingness of both sides to have a real conversation all we had to do was listen to the NRA today. No one needs an assault weapon unless they are soldiers. And I certainly don’t want my grandchildren going to school with teachers carrying concealed weapons and armed guards at the door.
    Thank you, thank you for the thoughtful discussion Susan.

    • sbranch says:

      Many many years ago, in ancient history really, I went to Spain. I was shocked to get off the plane and see all the armed men at the airport, and pretty much wherever we went. I sort of wanted to tiptoe through there! I never forgot that … I have no idea what was going on, but it felt like a war zone. I’m sure someone was protecting someone, but I felt sorry for those people to live in such a military looking place.

  69. Cinnamon says:

    If they take the 2nd Amendment away, what other freedoms will they take away. This administration has taken control of the health care, the auto industry, the banks, the schools and the voting. Hitler took these liberties as well but what was the last thing Hitler did? He took the weapons away from the people. Sound familiar…

    • sbranch says:

      That’s a lot of subjects. All I know, and this is for us, where we live, I look around and I don’t seen anything different. I can go where I want, see who I want, write what I want, I’m free to pursue happiness, which I do every day…I don’t feel any freedoms are gone and I don’t see them going. Although I did used to be able to cook a chicken without hosing down the kitchen afterwards … I think our food used to be cleaner, we could eat raw eggs in the 80’s, lettuce never had salmonella in it in those days — and that does bother me. But other than that, I don’t see anything missing.

      And I have looked and looked, researched like crazy, and I don’t see any indication that anyone wants to take away the 2nd amendment. People SAY they do in order to scare people, but they aren’t doing it and really, no one wants to. That’s actually a lie.

      “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
      ― Adolf Hitler

      Two different takes on things Cinnamon. I appreciate your thoughts. Thank you for taking part because it’s not a simple thing, and there are no simple answers. But I believe we are all wanting good things for ourselves and our families. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

      • Jack says:

        “You” enter a classroom full of small children with intent to do harm with your automatic weapon –but you heard teachers now have guns
        —-Who do you shoot first ?……….duh….is that a trick question
        – lemme think…..

  70. Diane C says:

    Thank you Susan for putting all this information in one place so we may make our voice heard. I have worked with children all of my adult life. When I think of these children in Newtown, I see the faces of my own and all the others I’ve known over the years. It makes me sick. We’ve all cried and now we need to make a difference. I support the right for guns, but I know many hunters and they don’t use assault weapons. There is no need for the average person to own one. I know there are ways to buy them illegally, but maybe if we make it more difficult it will make a change.
    I also had a brother who was mentally ill. It’s a very frustrating thing to know that you can’t get them help until they hurt themselves or someone else. It’s for their protection, but at the same time it puts many more at risk. The government has closed many mental health facilities and instead our money goes elsewhere.

  71. Susan,
    I want to say thank you! I appreciate the links that you posted. I have nothing against people owning guns. I just don’t see why anyone outside of the military or law enforcement needs to have assault weapons.

  72. Lori Ragalis says:

    As usual this blog is always so great and helps so much to bring the happy joyful parts of life. There is so much sadness in the world it is so nice to go this site and feel better. I have loved all of Susan Branch things and want everyone else I know to enjoy them as well. I gave 8 calendars to my dear friends for Christmas to let them enjoy her as well. Merry Christmas Susan & Joe and thank you for adding a cheerful spot to go. Chritsmas HUGS, Lori CT

  73. With a crazy-busy holiday and commission schedule, it’s been far too long since I’ve popped in here to read your wonderful blog – weeks, in fact. So this morning I thought I’d treat myself to a cup of tea, and a bit of catching up.

    I’ve been reading the comments on your thoughtful and heartfelt post here for the last half hour or so, and have to jump in…

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Although I posted on facebook, I was silent on my own blog – like so many others, stunned and reeling from yet another horrific, unthinkable, and utterly senseless tragedy – and to be honest, no words seemed adequate to describe the sorrow and anger I was feeling.

    But you’ve done that here, eloquently as usual, and in addition to thanks, I have to add kudos to you for stepping up, for using your fame for good, and for maybe, just maybe, provoking second thoughts in a few of the gun advocates out there.

    And to those who were disappointed with the injection of a little reality into their favorite escape/feel good blog, all I have to say is I wish I’d read this sooner, because in giving voice to what many of us have been feeling, and in providing those links, you HAVE made us feel a little better, a little more empowered.

    Finally, I’d like to share a link too – a very small thing we can all do to help. The Sandy Hook PTA is calling on people all over the country to make paper snowflakes for the children, in an effort to turn their new school into a winter wonderland when they return in January:


    Thank you again, Susan, and warmest wishes for a blessed and peaceful holiday season to all. ♥

    ~ Carolee

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Carolee… I did know that my thoughts might not be appreciated by all, but I just couldn’t let myself believe that this awful thing could be demoted to “just politics.” Real, little, innocent children are not politics. They do not deserve to have their last vision of this earth be of a guy in black with a machine gun. And solutions, common sense, who cares about Republicans and Democrats, have to be out there. xoxo Thank you for that helpful Link and happy holidays to you and yours.

  74. Gloria Howard says:

    Thank you dear Susan,
    I loved that you included all these great links…because I have a voice and I have to use it. It’s time, way overdue, but maybe the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary is the last straw.

  75. Kerry S. from San Pedro, CA says:

    How wonderful that people continue to contribute to this discussion. The speech from the NRA representative on Friday left me breathless – it was an obscene distortion of what the majority of people want our country to be. We don’t want armed campuses or a national data base of people with mental illness! Nothing about that speech was the least bit compassionate or healing. I’m already hearing a lot of backlash (well deserved in my opinion)! Oh my. . .I just don’t want to consider it any more!
    As I’ve said in previous postings, thank you Susan for allowing us the opportunity to express our grief and our hope too! You are an amazingly articulate and caring person! XOXO

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you Kerry! And thank you for your thoughts, I actually cried when I heard him speak, I was so overwhelmed that he didn’t offer practical solutions.

      • Janet [in Rochester] says:

        The really sad [sickening] part here is – he THINKS he did! PS – sorry so late with this – just getting caught up with the blog. XO! :>)

  76. Victoria says:

    Susan, I have followed you for years, LOVE your art, newsletters and pictures of your life. Thank you for sharing them. You are truly an inspiration and a reminder of what’s good in life!
    However, I had to respond as I was somewhat disappointed in the way you chose to portray the Connecticut school massacre tragedy.
    This young adult that chose to massacre these innocent babies did NOT get his tools of destruction from a ‘Gun show’ or any other LEGAL means. He STOLE THE GUNS, thus making him a criminal first, and a murderer second.
    Obviously when you steal a gun you bypass all laws concerning legal gun ownership, NO background checks, etc. So passing another law to punish the millions of law abiding gun owners will NEVER change the fact, that criminals will always find a way to obtain weapons in an ILLEGAL manner, regardless of how many laws are passed.
    You will just make it EASIER for the criminals to mow down more and more innocent citizens without any real fear of retribution.
    Think about it, there wasn’t ONE gun used to kill 3,000 of our precious citizens on 911. In the Aurora, CO massacre, there were several movie theatres within the close vicinity of the killer’s apartment. All allowed gun carry except for one. The killer conviently chose the one prohibiting gun carry to target. As unsettling as it may be, determined criminals WILL always find a way.
    The question remains; Will we as individuals be allowed to defend ourselves and those we love from these deranged criminals or will we all be turned into sitting ducks at the mercy of those who don’t live by the law anyway?
    I could site you many more times that guns, in the hands of law abiding citizens with the right to legal carry, have saved lives. But these individual cases will never get the media attention that these unspeakable tragedies have gotten.
    Imagine if you will, if key people in the school office were all legal and trained gun carrying citizens. This deranged criminal could have been stopped at the front door.
    Unfortunately, it is a fact that evil does exist in our world. However, disarming the good and rightious in our communities only serves to give the criminals the upper hand.
    Please try and give this a thought before hastily giving our right to protect ourselves away.
    My heart and prayers go out to the parents and families of these precious babies. And the loved ones of the couragous adults taken. We will never forget, and must never let this happen again.

    • sbranch says:

      I think we have to respectfully agree to disagree. I’ve been to countries where everyone carries guns and to me, it didn’t feel safe, and I didn’t see those people as “free.” No one is talking about taking guns away, as I think you can see by the other comments, people have the right to protect themselves. Just the large clips, automatic and semi-automatic weapons. If his mom didn’t have those large clips, the kids might have stood a chance. Thank you for your thoughtful heartfelt remarks, but when I weigh the pros and cons, I can’t love freedom of guns more than our freedom and the freedom of our children. I don’t want more guns to fall into the wrong hands; the trained guards you speak of, they would all have children at home too, who might help themselves to the gun. I think when a deranged person comes into a place, like that movie theater, it’s such a huge surprise, no one would be ready or quick enough. There were gun-carrying guards at Columbine and it didn’t help. It wouldn’t be just in schools either, but theaters, shopping malls, at the line the kids stand in to see Santa; armed guards in churches, at weddings, every place people gather, it would be ugly, not America, and then, what if a guard flips out? No. That just can’t be the way.

  77. Victoria says:

    The above conversation is misleading. ‘Assault weapons’ are already illegal. Being able to hold down the trigger down and have multiple bullets shoot out is illegal.
    The AR10, and AR15 civilian weapons are not the same as the military versions. You have to pull the trigger with each round on the civilian versions. Thus making them no more an ‘assault weapon’ than any other hunting rifle (at least one that is not a bolt action rifle). So you would be banning all hunting rifles that are not bolt action.
    And the talk about limiting the amount of ammo you can have in a clip. Do you think the criminals care about the law? Again all you would do is tie the hands of law abiding citizens trying to protect themselves against the criminal.
    These guys that committed these heinous crimes did NOT follow the law in any sense of the word.

    • sbranch says:

      No one needs a clip with 30 bullets in it. We are trading our own freedom to come and go in peace and safety in order to give a few people the thrill of shooting off a military rifle. The balance is just not there.

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