Stop the Violence

Friday, December 14th, 2012, will be a day to weigh heavy on the hearts of a nation, if not the world. It is the day when 26 people, 20 of them young children, had their lives stolen from them by a young man for reasons of his own.

Right now, so many of us are asking Why? — Which is a very fair question, but one in which we may never know the answer to. Another important question is: How do we prevent something like this from happening again?

The media pundits began spouting off their opinions within hours after word of the tragedy hit the networks. They blame guns chiefly, saying that we need stronger regulations, to the point of banning guns outright. Yes, background checks help, but as we have learned this week they don’t stop troubled individuals from getting guns. They will go so far as to steal them if they want them bad enough. Oregon taught us that.

But you know what does work? Vigilance and building meaningful connections with each other within our society. That is what prevented a potential tragedy from occurring within a school in Oklahoma. A young man tried to recruit accomplices in his plot, one of the students he talked to then told a school employee, who called the cops, who took the young man into custody and prevented anyone from coming to harm.

Vigilance and meaningful social connections, paired with education and awareness are what’s needed here. Not criminalizing and banning firearms — which are the weapon de jour at this point in time. (You would think people would have learned from the War on Drugs…) Take lessons from groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) — since they organized to speak at schools and other venues, drunk driving deaths and accidents have dropped significantly. Talking and educating work!

I know the concept of violence and terrorism are very scary things to expose children to, and you cross your fingers and toes and pray to every god in Heaven and on earth that such things will never happen, but they are sad realities. During the Cold War, school children were put through bomb drills, just as many of todays kids are put through a tornado, fire, and other disaster drills. It’s better to know what to do and never have to do it for real, then have to do it for real and not know what to do. Myself, and many others, feel that training and preparedness helped to prevent greater tragedy on Friday. The teachers did their best to lock down their classrooms and protect their students. I don’t think anyone could have done any better.

Bad things happen to good people. That is a sad, undeniable fact. What we cannot do is to let that turn inward and fester. We need to take that pain and anger and turn it into something positive, something beautiful. We need to come together as a people, a nation, a planet, and take care of each other! Treat others as we want to be treated! Because I for one, am weary of hearing about these young deaths, whether from internal or external violence. When are we all going to put aside all of the negativity and selfishness, and say enough is enough?

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