The World I Know, the World They Know
When I was a kid, my biggest fear in Elementary school was dodge-ball. I was never, shall we say, athletically inclined. I was always picked last, and the ball would inevitably come at me, and I'd wince, look away, and fail miserably when I hit it back to the opposing team. So, yeah, as you can imagine, I hated gym class, especially on dodge-ball day.
That's the world I knew.
Today, the world my daughters know is one where they can be shot in school.
A lot of talk centers around guns, and how they are society's biggest problem. Controversially, I disagree. Do I believe guns are an issue? Of course. But I understand there is a larger picture. As a mother, I don't have the luxury of seeing the world through a pigeonhole. I must, for the sake of my daughters, step back to see the bigger picture.
Their lives depend on my ability to grasp the complexities of this layered problem. This lethal problem.
Full disclosure: I am not fully Democrat or Republican. I am not full liberal or conservative. I am not left or right. Rather, I am a bit of everything. On some issues, I lean more toward Democrat and on others more toward Republican. My views are a blend of liberalism and conservatism. Because of my eclectic opinions, I fall squarely between left and right, landing me smack in the middle of the center.
With that out of the way, I hope you understand that I do not come to the problem of school shootings with an agenda other than the one of keeping our children safe. To step to this issue with a narrow view of the problem is to stand in the way of progressing toward a solution. The end goal should be that our children know the world we knew - one where the biggest fear during school hours was getting picked last for dodge-ball.
I don't pretend to be smart enough to know the solution to stopping mass school murders. I only know that the problem is more than just guns. We must, as a society, get to the root of why children are committing mass murder. Until we do that, we can remove every gun, and those desperate to do harm will find another way to kill.
My opinion is nuanced, in that I believe there are many factors contributing to children committing mass murder.
- Children exposed to adult issues and situations before they are mature enough to understand those issues and situations.
- A generation of children sweepingly diagnosed with, and overly medicated for, behavioral and social disorders - some of which stem from being exposed to adult issues and situations they are too young to comprehend.
- A generation growing up with computers and smartphones without adequate exposure to the actual world.
- Children saturated in the false sense of reality that comes from overexposure to social media.
- Children raised with a false sense of grandeur by helicopter parents.
- A lack of common sense gun laws.
- Lax enforcement of the gun laws already in place.
Do I feel these are the only contributing factors? No. Could I be completely wrong? Absolutely. But at least I'm doing my best not to look at this problem through an emotional and limited lens.
My wish is that those in government, who can actually make a difference, would stop pandering to their base and stop with the grandstanding. Our children's lives are on the line. Their play-acting will get more children killed. And I don't know about you, but I'm damn tired of seeing parents mourning their children who did nothing other than going to school.
On a personal note, my thirteen-year-old admitted that she is afraid every moment of every day while in school. That's six hours a day, five days a week. My heart hurts for her. I ache for every parent who has buried their child. I weep for the communities shattered by school shootings. And I implore our government to please, please, do something to protect our children by looking at this problem from every angle, and come up with a common sense solution...
...and if there isn't a common-sense solution, at the very least, put in place barriers between our children and a lunatic hellbent on killing them. Metal detectors. Trained veterans and/or retired police officers hired to guard our children during school hours. Anything. Something. Because your continued nothing is keeping our children vulnerable - and that I can not, and will not, as a parent, allow any longer.
We voted you for you. You owe us to do better.
Our children deserve more than the world they know. They deserve the world we knew.