“If we don’t plant the right things, we will reap the wrong things. It goes without saying. And you don’t have to be a brilliant biochemist and you don’t have to have an IQ of 150.”
— Maya Angelou
Attempting to make sense of yet another senseless tragedy in our country, I see the veil of numbness and exhaustion in the eyes of those around me.
Helpless hearts again bear the weight of disbelief as reports carry body counts inside a school in a lovely Florida town.
This news came to me on the heels of learning one little boy from a sweet family I know has silently borne the horror of being bullied at his small school.
I could not stop thinking about this, wondering what has gone wrong. Are we paying attention to all the wrong things? If so, how do we change for safety’s sake?
Children have lost their innocence in this world. That, I think, is at the core of so much heartache we are witnessing within schools and communities.
There is anger, aggression, hatefulness, selfishness, loneliness in parts of our population, and all of it combines and simmers toward combustion.
Growing up in a much more innocent time, we were taught to be considerate of others, always. We were taught to never, ever point even a toy gun at any living thing because it was hateful, wrong.
We were to be truthful, but always kind, and to stand up for those who took the brunt of unkindness, finding a way to put the down-trodden on a gentle path of inclusion.
Some will read this and roll their eyes and say that is too simplistic, that it has nothing to do with where we stand in the discourse of society’s horrific unraveling. And they may be right.
There are no easy answers, and there is no turning back time. No matter how difficult it is to agree, we need to find a way to move on from here while making sure we can safely go to school and church, movies and concerts, to grow and prosper in our communities.
We have a horrific and serious problem in this country.
I have read that European countries find the U.S. school shootings incredibly shocking, and wonder why money isn’t being spent to research why this is happening and what can be done to change it.
“Thoughts and prayers, U.S. politicians say. That is clearly not changing anything,” one European political media posting reads.
We need to do much more than offer thoughts and prayers. We need to actively work toward turning this tide in our country.
Put money toward researching this, and then educate us on how to be a part of the solution.
“Researchers may come back with something radical: that the answer is more guns for everyone. Maybe it’s better mental health support for schools and children. Better monitoring systems for bullying. More guidance counselors. Gun safety classes,” writes political editor Nirvi Shah.
We will not know unless and until we try.
It is inexcusable to say “this is not the time to discuss the matter,” by someone in political power after each mass shooting.
Gather everyone who has intelligence on this matter, and find a way to bolster research, doubling down on reports of suspicious and worrisome behavior.
Too many tips go ignored, pushed aside. Mistakes have been made, concerns ignored, while those with the power to change things are spending time and resources elsewhere.
What could possibly be more important? Formulate some sort of plan in our communities, in each state, in our Capitol.
If not now, when?