It takes a person, it takes a community

I’m Lady Justice. Thank you for listening, I’m always welcome to a healthy debate.

As the dog days of summer drag on parents all over the country are fearing what’s going to happen when our children return to school for the upcoming year. Two major mass shootings in Southern schools this year have us wanting to do something. Wanting to do anything to keep our children safe. Gun control? Metal detectors? Armed teachers? Military personnel placed on site? Twenty-foot barbed wire electric fences? Armed guards placed outside? Strict uniform dress codes?

Living in coastal Texas, managing a business that employees area teens this hits home for me. Not only with my children but with my staff.

May 18th, 2018 I woke up to a nightmare. A nightmare I had 19 years earlier. I lived a few towns over from Littleton, Colorado when the Columbine shootings took place. We played those kids in sports; we knew people that went to school there. We were just kids as we saw the madness unfold and the beginning of an era. That morning I was awakened to a flood of texts and private messages asking if my kids were ok?

Why wouldn’t my kids be ok?

I didn’t even get my eyes open as I frantically sent them text and desperately tried turning on the news to figure out what was happening. Once they both confirmed they were ok, and wondered why I was worried, I watched in horror as the school six of my employees attend under siege. In a panic I desperately reached out to every one of them, confirming they were all safe.

Next course of action was to breathe. Try to absorb what was unfolding before my eyes. A small country school like Santa Fe High is experiencing what every parent in this country fears every day their children leave the house and go to school.

As the kids came back to work, I listened to them tell what happened. Each with a different story based on their experience that day my heart broke for them. A few days earlier they were excited about prom, graduation, making plans for the future.

In those moments when that kid opens fire their lives forever changed.

A piece of them was forever gone, that can never be given back. In February, following the Parkland shooting in Florida, there was a false alarm that had put the school on lockdown. Those kids were terrified, not knowing what was happening. Not getting any information, just sitting like ducks waiting to see if the “shooter” was coming for them.

There wasn’t a shooter, it all came down to an extreme case of internet bullying and hysteria. The kid who would go on to carry out the deadly May 18th Santa Fe High shooting was one of the kids in those classrooms, he was just as scared as they were. He was helping move desks, making a plan, making weapons in case the shooter came in.

No one knowing a few months later this kid would change their lives forever.

What you must understand, this kid, who I will not use his name, I will not give him fame, I refuse to give him what he so desperately seeks, was one of them. Santa Fe is a small close community. They all came up together. They played together; they shared memories together, they took pictures together.

This wasn’t some boogie man. The betrayal is half the pain. The guilt some carry because they feel as they should have known, they should have caught on something had changed in him over the years. You can slowly see the decline from Freshman year to his Junior year in his yearbook picture.

You see a happy kid enjoying life, slowly becoming more isolated, more withdrawn and changing his wardrobe to the degree that it’s evident and concerning but never once does anyone stop to take notice. What happened in Santa Fe, should never have happened but it did with tragic consequences and a community that will never be the same.

community
Residents pitch in to find survivors after the Bath (Mich.) Consolidated School was dynamited by school board member Andrew Kehoe on May 18, 1927. As Littleton, Colo., tries to cope with a rampage by two gunmen who killed 12 students and a teacher before they took their own lives, a historical marker in a park in Bath reminds passersby of one of the worst school tragedies in U.S. history. In this community about 10 miles northeast of Lansing, a historical marker marks the site where 38 students and five adults died in the explosion. (AP Photo/The Detroit News)

Not new

Before we get on the gun issues, let me remind you guns have been around for centuries. School shootings didn’t start on this level until April 20th, 1999. Few people remember the Bath Township Disaster that took place May 18th, 1927, yes May 18th.

A school board treasurer and a local farmer named Andrew Kehoe snapped. He was angry about his farm being foreclosed on, mad because he felt the rise in school taxes was the reason for his troubles. He woke up that morning mad at the world, killed his wife, blew up his farm and blew up a school.

Killing 36 children, two teachers, injuring 58 others then killing himself. However, we never hear about this.

We never compare the two things.

We never talk about the decades that inner city schools have had drive-by shootings, shootings in school amongst rival gang members. Those stories don’t make national news because they don’t want to bring light to the situations that have long plagued inner-city schools. However, when it’s a psycho white kid, in a white school with a controversial gun, every news outlet in the world makes light of it.

Growing up, my generation was the end of an era, the beginning of the times we are in now. So where lies the problem?  I’ve spent many hours pondering this question. Mental health? Sure that plays a part, some of these drugs have worse side effects than the promise results. Getting your kids addicted to meth before they can even read or write because they are willful?

What sense does that make, yet we wonder why there is an epidemic of drug abuse in this country. It’s not a gun problem, 30 years go kids drove their trucks to school with guns in a gun rack, just in case they wanted to go hunting.

It’s a heart problem. We have become so disconnected; we don’t care about the issue.

People have found a way through technology to separate ourselves from feeling and caring. Do you pray for someone when you send prayers? Probably not, most likely whatever you said you were praying about is forgotten the moment you hit ok on the comment. Do we call anyone anymore? Do we even care about anyone but what goes on directly in front of us? Probably not.

We care long enough to make our point online and go back to our selfish lives.

There was a time when we had a sense of community; it took a village to raise children. We had community centers for kids. Neighbors watched out for each other’s kids. We didn’t call CPS, we addressed the kid then and there, and then we called their parents, and the parents didn’t scream at us for being mean to their babies, they told us thank you and punished the child for misbehaving.

Kid’s didn’t get a participation award for showing up, because they needed to be treated fair, even though they refused to try or apply themselves. Parents didn’t go to schools and scream my baby would never, could never do that. Adults worked together to make children better people, because children thrive on structure and discipline, even if they fight it that is genuinely what they crave.

They will thank us for it later. Children are not our equals or our friends. We are responsible for helping them grow into successful adults, and yes telling them no from time to time. Yes, we have dropped the ball. We have let children take over. They suddenly think they have rights; they are entitled to privacy. Many feel they should not have consequences for their actions and when they do they don’t seem to understand why.

America we have failed, and the proof is in the homegrown monsters we have created.

The lone wolves. A faction of mentally unstable, mostly males who act alone. All who sought some validation, vindication in life and failed. All who chose instead of becoming famous, they would become infamous. They targeted gun free zones, with minimal security and helpless, trapped victims. The media attention and notoriety they gain from these evil acts are undeniably evident.

They will go down in history books, no matter how much we try to avoid thinking about that.

Bullying is somewhat of a contributor, with social media and everyone putting themselves out there, it’s no longer as simple as some mean kids at school and going home to get away from it. Now they go home, get on social media looking that acceptance only to be met with the even harsher world of the internet bullying. Millions of critics there to build you up or break you down. Some succeed and become famous, they still have critics, but their fame is such that doesn’t matter.

Others feel so hopeless and worthless they end their lives. While others feel so angered, they want the world to suffer. Should we expect less from a generation that lives in a virtual world of video games, Netflix, and social media? An age group shielded from the pain of the world and fear of consequences.

A generation that grew up expecting everything to be fair and equal, utterly unprepared for the harshness and reality of the world. A generation that no longer has skill trades taught in school. Where they have so much pressure to be A students, when C’s are average. The burden of knowing going to college means you are entering the world in massive debts.

They are no longer given the option of learning to drive through the school. They don’t know anything about a hard days work. Not like we did. Young boys don’t get the satisfaction of mowing lawns for their neighbors to make a few extra dollars. Young girls are no longer able to make a few dollars babysitting. Everything has changed, and not for the better.

The Common Sense of it All

How do we fix this?

Do we lock them up?

Turn the schools into prisons? Make them into robots? I don’t have all the answers, but I genuinely believe if we want things to get better we need to backtrack and see what we have lost over the years. Starting with making kids accountable, actually parenting our children. Teaching the children to understand right from wrong is a must.

Schools need to implement a policy and make all students comply, not give the popular ones passes. Change comes from within. Meaning we have to start caring, be better people. Do community outreach, see what is happening around us instead of just offering fake prayers on facebook.

A sense of community needs to return.

We need community centers in all our cities that give the kids something to do, besides sitting in their homes hiding behind a screen. We need to bring back programs that mentor young people. Yes, those mentors need proper vetting, but it’s incredible how much a young person can take from an adult that takes an interest in them. Maybe if we cared, we would be able to catch these killers in making before they do something they can never take back. Perhaps we can stop them.

We will never free the world of evil but turning our back to it isn’t the answer. All the security layers in the world won’t stop it.

Common Sense is a page that offers opinion and satire of the events of the day. While we take every precaution to have the facts, it is not intended to be a news source. We at Common Sense hope that you use common sense when reading all internet “news.” 

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