I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking about the issue of gun violence and mass shootings in the US for the past two weeks. I’m sure many people have. I’ve engaged in many online discussions and shook my head pretty much every time President Trump opened his mouth to say something idiotic about the subject.
Here’s the thing though….Trump is an asshole, and kinda stupid, and downright dirty, but the problem in the States is not actually his fault. Sure, his loyalty to the NRA is perpetuating the problem, and he has undone some of the controls that previous Presidents have set in motion. And it’s infuriating to hear his *quick fix* of the issue while so many families are grieving tragic losses at the hands of this utter bullshit, all while he is really doing nothing.
So what’s the answer? There isn’t a simple one, I don’t think. I am a firm believer that the laws need to be stricter. The rules need to be tighter and the restrictions about what kind of weapon you can own need to change. I have been very vocal about that, even as a member of a gun owning family.
Do I think that people have a right to own firearms? Sure. But with many, many limitations.
But that is only one piece of a very complicated and larger problem.
And no, I don’t actually think the problem is just mental illness either. It must certainly be a factor in some cases, but having the President of the US go on about how he doesn’t want *sickos* to get their hands on guns is not helping AT ALL.
So, what else? Honestly, I think that we as parents are failing our children. Probably not a very popular opinion, but I kinda don’t give a shit. Parents need to take some ownership in the way we have ceased to be present for our kids. We have to recognize the lacking connection kids are making with their parents and peers, and how that can contribute to a lack of empathy. We have to admit that in the majority of cases, both parents are working, and our children are in someone else’s care. We have to admit that instead of sitting down together at the end of the day and talking as a family, we are working shifts, or racing from one activity to the next in hopes of giving our kids the best opportunities for success later, and not even having regular conversations with our kids about anything. We are physically present, but we aren’t present. We often don’t notice that something is wrong until it is already at a crisis point.
People who are in pain often inflict pain on others as a a means to cope. And that is bullshit. How are we here? When did inflicting pain mean killing 17 children? What the actual fuck is the point in that? How did nobody notice this kid that was hurting so bad that he needed other people to die? Where were his caregivers? Why was he allowed access to a firearm?
We need to do better than this.
Limit access. Treat mental illness. NOTICE YOUR CHILDREN. Notice their pain. Notice their tears. Know what is going on in their lives. Have no secrets in your house. Listen to the little stuff so that they trust you with the big stuff. Give up material things to create healthier relationships and time to nurture them. We all have a role to play. Its guns, but its not JUST guns.
We as a society need to re-examine our values and decide that our current ways are creating a lack of human connection and empathy that allow us to hurt one another. Someone who feels loved and valued and confident is not going to have a bad day and all of a sudden go and murder a bunch of people because he feels sad. Someone who feels like they have a support system is not going to do that. And on the flipside, someone who doesn’t have those support systems but also doesn’t have access toa firearm is not going to shoot 17 people at his school either. The solution is multi layered. The lawmakers need to make better laws. They need to recognize their part, no matter what hey think their rights are. But the parents need to do their part too.