I am against gun control. Let me explain. People who want guns, find guns. People who want to hurt people, find a way to hurt people. People who are breaking the law, will continue finding ways to break the law. I've heard it said a million times, "The gun didn't kill anyone. The person who pulled the trigger did."
Nothing breaks my heart more or captures my attention more than a breaking story of a school shooting. I hurt for the kids, teachers and staff, and the parents. I would go crazy with worry waiting for my child to call if their school was under attack. I would be frantic waiting for my spouse to contact me with a message telling me they were okay. I ache for the victims who will never have a chance to grow up.
And, I feel for the family of the shooter. They are now labeled as the 'bad guys' who did something wrong raising a kid like that. I am sure they are hurting too. In the blink of an eye, they become outcasts. The parents of a killer. Few will extend a hand to hold or a shoulder to cry on because they are the enemy.
No one wins in a school shooting. No one.
And yet politicians and the Hollywood set and social media jumps on the bandwagon and begins selling their view. Gun control is screamed from the highest peaks and in the loudest voices. Famous faces begin teary eyed campaigns to rid our world of an evil. Social media reports every last ugly word. And, the worst.... people are paid to protest and hold rallies.
Stop. Don't use a tragedy to promote your politics. This isn't the time.
Take a look at the victims. And the accused. Look beyond the weapon and find the cause. Look at the warning signs and listen for the cries for help. The ones that were ignored until it was too late. Look beyond your own agenda and find the heart of the problem. We have to start looking for answers. Solutions to a problem. Real solutions. Not extra lock down drills, or hiring additional armed school officers, or training teachers to shoot, or installing bullet proof glass and steel doors.
Time. We need to spend time with and on our kids. We need to be aware of what they are doing, saying, and thinking. Before it is too late. Warning signs are there. Kids are not silent. They post, tweet, type. They join groups that are harmful. They read articles that encourage violence. And, yes, social media is a big help in this department. Are social media accounts being monitored? Do we know where our kids are? Do we know what they are doing? Thinking? Why do some people give birth, expect government assistance, then hand their child over to the school to raise?
Resources. Why are we spending billions on movies or games depicting violence, but we're cutting school funding? Why do people spend more time and money on sports than they do on their own children? Schools need our help. It doesn't have to be money. It can be donations or time. Teachers are grateful for ANY help they receive.
We have to stop reacting and start responding. We have to be involved. We can't be too busy. We have to stop throwing insults and waving banners. We have to make time. Now.
(For more of Kim Frencken's writing and information about her educational products, check out her blog Chocolate For the Teacher.