Sad but true, the gun lobby is large, which makes it an easy target for all that ails society. At least, until the news broke on Friday that the FBI got a tip on the shooter a month ago, and failed to follow up. Official response: oops. So there was another fail. But nobody screamed about that, because the poor FBI is overwhelmed with tips and can’t investigate them all. It’s a shame, but cut them a break.
The argument then quietly turned toward the lack of mental health help. It turns out the shooter was on mind-altering drugs. He should have never been sold a gun or ammo in the first place (agreed), but what safeguards are there in place? The answer: none. I have my bachelor’s degree in psychology, but abandoned grad school and working in the field after spending six months volunteering in a mental health hospital and discovering that the field is still reactive. It has to be proven that a person is a threat to themselves or others before anything can be done. Unfortunately, most of them have just enough self awareness to not turn themselves in or hurt themselves. So others get hurt and killed, and we scream about guns again. A few have pointed out the correlation of increasing mass shootings and the closure of mental health facilities, but not many. And when I tried to open a dialogue on this on Facebook over the weekend, it was largely ignored, and somehow turned back to how assault weapons are to blame.
Yesterday, I saw posts s that teachers need to be armed. Then coincidentally (or not) Rick “stumbled upon” the movie Fist Fight, and I thought hell no. Schools, like every other work place, have problems that just make that a bad idea. Plus, that logic flies in the face of the “guns are bad and nobody should have one” argument. I agree that schools are targeted because everybody knows they’re a “gun free” zone, so nobody is armed to shoot back. But then you get into the problem of where to draw the line, especially in high schools where students start to get old enough to carry. You can’t tell teachers “yes” and students “no” if they meet the letter of the law, and the government says it’s ok.
Before I went to bed last night, I saw yet another Facebook post, but this one was about the increase in bullying at my high school. I graduated in 1993, and was surprised when I went to college and found out that the school has a reputation as a “tough, inner city” school, and that I was a basa** to not only graduate with honors, but to graduate unharmed, mentally stable, and prepared for college. I had great teachers, but I’ll agree that it was tough. I thought all high schools were. And frankly, my middle school was so awful with drugs and gangs (that it took them another 20 years to admit existed) that high school was a relief. I had good classes, good teachers, and good friends in the band. Sure, there were the “jocks” who thought they were better than everybody else (despite the fact that we had losing seasons in major sports the whole time I was there). But it was just four years. Reading that post, it’s obviously become worse, and I’m surprised they haven’t had a mass shooting yet! Bullying is still ignored, and viewed as “a personal problem” and “an opportunity to learn how to deal with people who don’t like you,” Yes, a teacher actually told me that, in front of my mother. She informed him that she didn’t like him, and told everybody. He left at the end of the year. Unfortunately, that’s still the prevailing attitude not only there, but in all public schools. I know a lot of people who work in a variety of schools and districts, and three things prevail: emphasize athletics, teach to the test, and get them out of there as quickly and quietly as possible. Nobody deals with bullying. Nobody really deals with anything unless it’s so “in your face” that there’s a threat that the media will turn up. Then they scramble to cover it up instead of deal with it effectively.
The truth is that we have a problem on multiple levels, and it’s been brewing for a long time. School shootings started back in the early 90’s when I was in high school, and have only grown worse. The gun debate has been a debate for a long time, and will remain one for the present time. I think the prevailing things we can deal with are the mental health and bullying issues. Teenagers don’t have the experience, wisdom, and maturity to see the “big picture” without guidance from others. Remember, the same old crap for us is brand new to them. Yet we’re always “too busy” and think they’ll learn on their own, or worse yet hope that if we ignore it, then it will go away. That doesn’t happen, folks. And I think we see that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. We need to do something different.
We need better mental health care and research. There’s no excuse for why that field has stagnated the way that it has.
We need to find a balance between letting kids be kids, and implementing proper discipline to make sure they learn not only right from wrong, but appropriate coping mechanisms for when life starts to kick them in the a**. That will happen. It’s certain. If you’re human, then life will suck at times. The key to “living through this” is in coping with the crap to find hope through trials and better days on the other side. Often, kids don’t even know anything about hope or joy. All they see is what’s in front of them. We need to give them vision beyond today.
We need to re-institute personal accountability all across the board. No more excuses or whining about how we could have done better but – NO! Wisdom comes from admitting your mistakes, correcting them or making proper restitution, learning, and moving on. We give too many things too many chances. Time is linear, folks. Some things can’t be undone. We need to learn that in little things before the big things knock us in a hole that we don’t know how to crawl out of before life buries us.
We need to do better. For all of our progress, we sure do have a lot more problems. That’s just sad. If this keeps happening, the aliens are going to obliterate us when they arrive – and the way things look, we certainly aren’t evolving to seek them, so they will find us first, and they’ll be the smarter one. Unless that Elon Musk dummy drives by a spaceship.
But now, I wonder who the real dummy is. Right now, it looks like that could have been an accurate representation of us all at times.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great week.