Bridgette wrote a post in October of 2015 titled This HAS to stop. It’s now February of 2018, and guess what? It hasn’t stopped. In fact, it’s kept going. And the result – more kids are dead and nothing is being done.
I’m not liberal really. As a matter of fact, if I had to choose a political party, I tend to side more with the Republicans than the Democrats. But I don’t really “do” politics, I only know what party I side more with because of the “who should I vote for based on their policies” quizzes I take. So, I don’t want to get political. I want to share my thoughts and start a KIND discussion about solutions.
I’m a teacher, and I’m a mom. Z is in 5th grade, and Vinny is getting ready to go to preschool. (If he ever decides that he wants to really be potty trained.) School shootings affect me personally. Even though I’ve never experienced a lockdown that’s not been a drill – and I pray daily that I (and my kids) never have to – I’m now a little scared to go to work. My husband is a police officer. His job is the one that should be scary. A music teacher shouldn’t have to even think twice that something terrible could happen while she’s at work, but now, I do.
My school is an elementary school and in a fairly safe neighborhood, but, as we’ve seen, school shootings can, and do, happen anywhere. THAT’S JUST NOT RIGHT. We should never have to utter the words “school” and “shooting” in the same sentence, and it’s now become almost commonplace. So, what’s the solution? How do we stop, or at least minimize, this threat? I’d like to offer my thoughts on a few suggestions I’ve seen going around social media.
Is the answer stricter gun laws? Look, I know criminals will get guns just like they get and do other illegal things, but I really don’t think it could hurt to have regulations on guns. Disclaimer: I HATE guns. I hate that my husband has a gun, but I understand it’s for his job. I grew up hating guns because my great aunt died from accidentally being shot with a BB gun when she was 5 while a bunch of kids were playing with them, so my mom was always very anti gun, even water guns weren’t really allowed. I’m not saying that everyone who owns a gun should surrender it, nor am I saying that’s even a good idea. But I am saying that it can’t hurt to put more rules on purchasing guns. There’s regulations on cars, why can’t there be stricter regulations on guns? Guns are literally made to kill things. I think that requires more conversation about who/when/where/why/how people can purchase them.
Is the answer mental health awareness? I struggle with anxiety daily, and I’ve struggled with depression before. But I can honestly can that none of that has ever made me think about doing something as terrible as killing people. Never. Granted, other people’s lives and situations are different, but with so so so many of these mass shootings, do we need to be looking into getting more people the mental help they need? It’s a tricky situation because talk therapy works, but you have to practice what you learn. And can people really become so far gone that you can’t get them back? I don’t know. There are medications and things as well, but we’re also relying on people who are already unstable to take responsibility. Can it happen? What needs to change in order for it to happen?
Is the answer arming teachers? Um, NO. Of course I’d fight to save my life or save the lives of my students, but no way in the world do I want a gun anywhere near my classroom. Nope. I won’t even give this any more consideration. Something is seriously wrong with our country if this is the best option given as a solution.
So, what IS the solution? I don’t know. But I know what isn’t the solution – continuing to do nothing. I implore you – start with yourself and BE BETTER, discuss and don’t name call, don’t immediately put someone else’s ideas down, MAKE CHANGES HAPPEN!!!!!! Because you deserve it. Because your kids deserve it. And because our world deserves it. And because if we don’t, who will?