I hesitate to weigh in on a lot of “current issues” in my blog posts. There are already many voices stating their opinions, and the sound of those opinions is often forceful and even harsh.
For instance, we just had another mass school shooting. Personally, I’m not sure which part of that sentence is the most horrific: “another,” “mass,” “school,” or “shooting.” American society seems to be crumbling rapidly.
Of course, everyone, from the POTUS to “great-aunt Betty” has voiced their opinion via social media. We are awash in a swirl of people vehemently arguing for more access to weapons and those who want to seriously restrict weapons. Somehow, we justify this behavior as part of grieving with the victims.
I think that’s our first mistake. If we want to grieve with the victims, we need to find healthy ways to support the students and families who have survived this tragedy. Maybe we should flood the school with letters and cards of sympathy and hope. We should listen as survivors become ready to open up and share the pain and trauma they are experiencing.
Instead, we are drowning out their story with our own flood of opinions.
The next thing that bothers me is that no matter what opinion is being offered, it is being offered as the “magic pill” that will solve all problems. Are we really that naive? Human beings aren’t that simple, so how could solving a societal problem be?
A whole school and community has had life turned upside down, inside out, and shredded. Life will go on, but it will never be the same again. How do we help this community heal so that anger doesn’t fester and create more acts of violence? How do we help children overcome the anxiety they must feel as they walk the halls and remember the events of that day? How do we support fellow Americans as they try to make sense of the senseless?
And, there is the shooter. What twists a young man up inside so much that he can cross a line like that and devastate an entire community? What went wrong in his life? How do we identify children who are at risk, and how do we support them and their families? How do we help them heal and make choices that will help alleviate family and personal stress in positive ways? How can we do this throughout our nation?
Should we look at entertainment? Is it possible that the life-imitates-art-imitates life cycle needs to be examined? Is there something to the philosophy that has been held by Suzuki and others that if you surround children (and adults) with beauty and character, you create people of beauty and character?
In my mind, there is not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution to the hate and the violence that seems to be overtaking American culture.
I do, however, think that we each have a responsibility to think clearly and calmly about what we can do in our own sphere of influence to create safety and acceptance for anyone who is struggling.
It’s your turn: what have I missed in trying to create a better America? Comment below.