Can someone correct me if I don’t feel what a lot of people feel about shootings in schools, churches and public places in general in this country. We have a family group text chat consisting of my wife, her siblings and their spouses. My brother-in-law, Napoleon, first broke the news to the group of the school shooting that took place in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 students from Robb Elementary School and two teachers lost their lives at the hands of of a vicious and evil shooter. I was busy working on some last minute articles before the deadline and just ignored the text. When I got home my wife asked me for details of the shooting as she thought the hour I got home before she was spent watching the news. Instead, I just shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know.”
But as I sat and unenthusiastically listened to the information coming from this community, I focused on the reactions of media pundits and talking heads, and what celebrities had to say. There was this lack of public outrage and performance – like the anger directed at politicians, the gun lobby and those who believe taking away guns leads to taking away other rights.
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, CNN anchor Don Lemon and comedian Steve Harvey were some of the personalities I listened to in the first 24 hours after the elementary school massacre. And I walked away with the feeling I’ve had since Columbine, Sandy Hook and other nationally publicized shootings – numb, desensitized from the frequency of shootings, and not at all moved by what I think to be platitudes and failed attempts to just anger well-known people.
As the father and husband of an educator, my heart aches every time something like this happens to innocent children, teachers, parishioners and bystanders who are either in places trying to improve themselves or simply in the company of friends and family.
What gets me thinking is the anger, outrage, and accusations from high places that may or may not solve the problem of gun violence in America. I agree that semi-automatic weapons have no place in the hands of non-military/non-law enforcement professionals.
The availability of these types of weapons is a problem, but I also think that the values we place on owning guns, humanizing/dehumanizing others, and how we live can all be elevated over the course of of the parenting process.
Many gun safety advocates often reflect on how their parents taught them the proper way to shoot, safety, and respect for guns. Additionally, good parenting also recognizes children who may need professional help with mental, social, and emotional issues.
They can seek professional help, monitor their children’s screen time, and encourage them to let off steam outside by playing games or participating in a sports league. And we still can’t be afraid to discipline disobedient children.
I sincerely believe that if we had stronger parenting, we wouldn’t be talking about the World Trade Center tragedy, the school shootings, and the general dehumanization of “the other” in society at large.
People are inclined to react to violent events in this country as they see fit. But remember that the impact of good parenting, or lack thereof, lasts a lifetime; but the time to make a decisive impact is a very narrow window.