It’s been two days since we, as a nation, watched in disbelief as another school shooting unfolded. It’s become so commonplace now that we barely focus on it for more than a minute before offering some thought or prayer, saying that we “wish” we could do something about it, and then getting to more pressing things like our own lives. And it’s not enough.
Every time another child is shot in school, or a group of people are killed in the grocery store, OR IN THEIR CHURCH, the divide in our nation grows. We talk about gun control, we talk about gun regulations, we talk about background checks, and then we gloss over the mental health issue.
Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one, and here’s mine. It doesn’t matter how many mental health assessments we give before we put a gun in someone’s hand, like every other program in the world, the program only works if you are willing to work the program. And people who need mental health help are usually the first ones to say they don’t. And a lot of them even LOOK like they don’t.
I’m not going to turn this into a political debate, because right or left, this whole situation is wrong. And I’m guilty too. When my daughter was in high school, one of her classmates shot and killed another in the cafeteria at breakfast. The killer was somebody she had been in school with since elementary school. That was over ten years ago. When my youngest son was in middle school he said, “I’m nice to everyone because when someone comes in shooting, I want them to remember I was one of the nice ones.” Why should kids have to think like tha? The shootings keep happening and I keep sitting here doing nothing. Maybe we need mental health reform as much as or more than we need gun reform. I know there are no SIMPLE answers, but there are plenty of answers.
It starts at home. It has always started at home. I don’t care how “great” your life looks on the outside, every single person would benefit from personal development and therapy. And if the parents or guardians of the children were working to deal with their shit and making strides to help elevate themselves to a place of love and forgiveness and healing, then it wouldn’t seem so outlandish when a teacher at a school or a principal decided to make personal development, coping skills and communication skills part of the curriculum from day one. There are age appropriate ways to talk to kids about sharing their feelings, about not hurting others, about seeking help when they feel unsafe, but we are all too busy pushing everything under this big rug of ours and pretending like everything is fine.
Well, everything is not fucking fine. Eighteen kids are dead. The shooter who was just a kid is dead. And many many more before him and I dare to say at this rate, many many more will come after if we don’t do something.
I think it’s time we stop posting “be the change” quotes on our walls and actually become the change.
I don’t know how I will become the change. I guess I will start by donating to the school to help the families who have to bury their babies this week. Then I will call my senator. Then I will call my president. Maybe I will decide to run for office to create change from within, ok, maybe I won’t go that far. I don’t have the answers, but I can say with 100% confidence that if we adults fixed our own shit that’s going on inside of our heads, our children would follow suit and be more willing to talk about what’s going on in theirs. And quite frankly, we, as parents, are at least 50% responsible for what’s wrong in their little brains. And that’s the low end.
We have to do better.
We have to start today.
We have to stop talking.
We have work to do.