I hate this. I hate this so much. I hate that our children have to stage a walkout to get the nation’s attention that they do not feel safe at school.
In America. Children do not feel safe going to school. Let that sink in.
We are full of talk. Pointing fingers of blame. And then we do absolutely nothing.
I don’t know what the solution is. Speculation is thrown around everywhere about what will reduce the number of violent gun deaths. But when it comes down to putting those theories into action and policy? We suck. We fail. We plug our ears and shake our heads until something else gradually gets our attention and we forget that we have this HUGE, debilitating issue until it happens yet again.
I could go through the list of common targets that people love to blame when these things happen (admittedly, I was about to do just that) but that would make this post unnecessarily long, because the truth is none of that matters if we don’t do anything and innocent people continue to die.
I will address one thing that I keep seeing pop up here and there. Being “nicer” to your fellow classmates. This is victim blaming. This is telling students that they weren’t nice enough to their classmate and so it’s their fault he shot up the school. I don’t think our society has a problem with niceness. Yes, bullying is a problem. But kids have been bullied by their classmates since the beginning of time. Bullying is not uniquely an American problem, and yet mass school shootings is uniquely and American problem. Also this “solution” doesn’t address all of the mass shootings that happen outside of schools. Because there are plenty of those as well.
In fact – thinking through all of the other common targets of blame, none of them are uniquely American. Violent video games, movies, music, high divorce rates, reduction in religious belief, mental health issues, and even a rampant gun culture. None of these things by themselves are uniquely American.
One thing that isn’t talked about as much, but does seem to be different among high income countries is access to social programs that support people below the poverty line. Here’s a graphic from this BBC article.
I don’t want to put too much emphasis on this though, because what we really need is well funded, thorough research into the issue.
Why do our citizens pick up high powered weapons and turn them on their peers?
This makes me nervous to send my little girl to school when she’s older. I hope we can come together and actually work to do something about this issue. It makes my heart hurt.