Category Archives: Opinions

Time for Change

Last night I was laying in bed thinking of South Park and their season premier. It was so upsetting, but not because of the horrific story line. Let’s be honest, that is what our life has become. There is shooting after shooting, but it’s not in the same place so we convince ourselves, that’s okay. We tell ourselves it will never be our child, it will never happen here or hey it can’t happen twice. Well it happens over and over again all over the United States. We let statistics make us think it’s okay, that it is rare. Honestly, it is becoming more common place. We are defending this new norm to our children. We are having drills at school, not for disasters but from a person. How can we still let this happen? 

I worry that this episode will make some youth crying for attention do something that will destroy their lives and the lives of so many. The number is never known because some are successfully stopped, so why aren’t we learning from our mistakes and our success? I am afraid to send my kids to school and I think maybe I just won’t send them tomorrow. Then I wonder why we send them at all. We never knowingly put our children in danger, we eliminate all risks that we can and accept there are some things we can’t change. Well this is something we can change. What if we stop sending our children to unsafe schools? We would never go to work if we thought our lives were in danger. Why are we sending our kids into it? Our kids did walk outs and they were criticized, why aren’t we supporting them and demanding change. More counselors, smaller classes, give these kids the attention they deserve. Reward them with praise and positivity and punish and find out why people are acting out, never give up on them and get them the help they need. If we stop bullying and give better support maybe we can end the shooting. There has to be something better than continuing to do nothing. 

I’m not naivee in thinking this will happen overnight.  However, it is going to happen with a bunch of small changes that will start to make a big difference. Ignoring the problem is not going to make it go away.  Being more involved in our children’s lives will make a difference. Being there for their friends whose parents can’t be. The old saying goes, “It takes a village.” When did we stop being involved? The schools cannot take acts of violence so lightheartedly, there needs to start being real consequences. Now I am not saying life destroying consequences but stuff that will really make a kid sit down and think about what they did. We cannot count on parents to punish their kids for things that happen at school because honestly they may not know.  The school can set zero tolerance policies, acts of bullying require mandatory psych evaluations, those being bullied need someone to talk to.  Let’s work at this problem from all sides and we can start to make a difference and change the world. 

Gun Control and Arming our Teachers

It is painful watching the news and hearing all the arguments about guns and the solutions that they are suggesting. Some are definitely better than others and no matter what, any action is better than no action. I just feel like we are having arguments for the sake of arguments and everyone is trying to pass their own agenda. My agenda? How about let’s take a common sense approach to the problem. People are murdering other people. Last time I checked murder was illegal and against the majority of religions. Guess what Congress, making more laws and regulations isn’t going to do much since the biggest law is being broken. If people want to murder people, you are not going to change that with laws. All you will change is the means in which they do it.

What can be done? Let’s start with schools. How about we add more teachers, and decrease the classroom sizes. I think it would be a lot harder for people with behavioral issues and violent out bursts to go unnoticed when there is more people paying attention. Let’s add more school counselors to listen to these issues these kids face. We all remember the emotional ups and downs we faced going through puberty. We were emotional rollercoasters. Let’s give these kids better tools to cope with bullying and absent parents. Instead of blaming everyone for failing, let’s step up and fill in the gaps.

Second let’s make some consequences! It would be unheard of for a teacher to lay a hand on a student in this day and age but 40-50 years ago when my father went to school, it was common. Parents can’t even spank their kids anymore without being criticized by society. So where is the punishment for hurting others? No tv? No video games? Detention? For some that is enough, but for others it is a test to see how far they can push you. I’m not saying we should go down an eye for an eye path. We need to make the punishments fit the crime and make acts of violence have serious consequences with mandatory counseling. Why are they being violent? That is the question we need to answer and help resolve.

Also you cannot go from teachers not being allowed to touch a student to outfitting them with a gun. Our goal should be to keep guns out of schools not add more. But teachers should definitely be armed. My solution, stun guns. A student gets violent and threatens his fellow students it will be a lot easier to subdue them with a stun gun than an actual gun. First, I don’t know about you but I’m not really eager to shoot someone else, even when faced with you versus me, I’m not sure I could end someone’s life. So how is a teacher who has spent countless hours in a room with someone going to be able to make that decision. I suppose if they have a gun and their intentions are clear that decision may get easier but there is going to be hesitation. Second, the day a teacher shoots a student is the day our country will be divided, yet again. Half the nation will praise the teacher for their courage and ability to stand up in a crisis.  The other half will question their decision,  “They only had a knife.” or “They were just threats and they didn’t have the means to do harm.”  We have marches against our own law enforcement for the decisions they make daily and they are trained to make these decisions.  How do you expect a teacher to know when to use a gun to stop a student? Third, adding more guns to a school may make it feel safer but what are we going to do when one of those guns is taken from the teacher and used against them or others.  Let’s avoid it all and arm the teachers with stun guns.

Stun guns are not lethal and any parent who has a problem with the possibility of their kid being tasered should be more concerned with the violent behavior that causes it or find another means of education for their child. Also I can almost guarantee any violence in schools will drop immediately,  children test boundaries and the first kid to get zapped cause he was in a fight with another kid is going to send a pretty strong message.  Teachers are not going to stand for violence anymore and there will be consequences. Now if your argument is that teachers are more likely to use a stun gun and our children may get hurt,  I’d rather they accidentally taser a child than shoot them.  I know which one that child is going to be able to walk away from.

There is plenty of documented behaviors that lead up to these mass shootings,  so next let’s start there.  Let’s start taking violent behavior more seriously and stop justifying it.  We know killers usually start by killing animals.  So let’s treat animal abuse and murder as a symptom for a bigger issue and figure out the root cause.  Let’s require more mental health checks.   There are discussions about increasing the background checks to include more mental health information. What about the people who never get the help?  The incidents of violence are usually there but nothing was ever done about them.  Let’s require mandatory psych evaluations.  Let’s require public assigned counselors to keep track of violent offenders. I can guarantee if that fight you had where you punched someone required a mandatory psych evaluation, people would think twice before committing acts of violence.   Let’s question people’s mental health, let’s make it a priority to ensure everyone is able to contribute to society safely and productively. Stop making excuses and start fixing the problems.  We all make bad decisions,  we all act out when we are pushed too far.  Society needs to start figuring out what is normal behavior that people can be rehabilitated from and what is a mental issue that will require monitoring and counseling.

Now I am not saying mental health is going to make you do bad things,  most people have some sort of mental illness they live with and manage quite easily.  But for others it is not easy and they may not know they have an issue, let’s turn the conversation away from blaming and figure out what we can do to help people get the help they need instead of making them figure it out on their own.  Not everyone will ask for help and it is the ones that aren’t asking that are ending up committing these atrocities and the worst part is, a lot of the people around them are not surprised. The question becomes, why aren’t we trying to fix the problem?Ignoring it and hoping it goes away is not working.  We have made some major advances in how we treat mental illness but it is still a taboo and people will consider a broken arm more serious than a major depressive episode. Mental health problems never go away. If left untreated they can end in death, either theirs or others, lets stop the cycle and start helping people get the help they need.  We tell people to go to the doctor all the time if they have a cold or they get hurt.  Why aren’t we making them go to a doctor if they have uncontrollable rage or they hurt themselves or others?  Instead of looking at the gun laws of these other countries, maybe we should be looking at how they treat the sick and mentally ill,  those are the actions we should be following.  You can make anything correlate,  lets make some big changes cause this is not going to fix itself and gun control is a small piece of the puzzle.  It’s already illegal to murder someone what gun control law are you going to make that is going to be better than that?