My heart is weighed down with sadness over the horrible loss of lives in Parkland, Florida on Wednesday. So many – too many – young people had their futures taken away in the flash of gunfire by a disturbed gunman who obtained an assault weapon much too easily.
I heard on The Daily Podcast Friday morning that it is easier to buy an AR 15 than to buy a regular handgun. There is no waiting period for the assault weapon, and it can be purchased by eighteen-year-olds, while you have to be 21 to buy a handgun. That does not make sense on so many levels. Who needs a military-style weapon except the military?
Nobody I can think of.
There is no doubt that we need stricter gun regulations, and maybe if we stop using the term “gun control” and substitute “regulations,” more people would be receptive to the idea. We automatically cringe at the idea of being controlled while having some things regulated for the safety of ourselves and others is easier to accept.
Still, the problem of violence in our society is fed by more than the proliferation of guns, and regulations can’t address all of those.
When I did the research for my book on gun violence in schools, I found that the factors that contribute to violent behaviors are many, so there isn’t going to be one simple way to ensure student safety. One thing that we can do as a society, however, is to take a stand against media and entertainment that glorifies violence and makes it appear harmless.
It is anything but harmless. A professor of criminology that I interviewed for my book twenty years ago said, “How many times can we watch The Texas Chainsaw Massacre without it giving us a subconscious message that killing and maiming people is okay?”
He also said that once we as a society had no lines that we would not cross, we would be a society out of control.
Think about it. Where are the boundaries today?
While I am dismayed that we had yet another school shooting, I am buoyed by the actions that students and teachers are taking to force state and federal governments to take action instead of throwing words at the problem of gun violence. Student and teacher walkouts are planned for March, as well as meetings with State legislators in Tallahassee. The rallying cry is, “We will be the last school shooting,” and I so desperately hope we can make that come true.
I have been so impressed by the young people who started speaking out immediately – Cameron Kasky and Emma Gonzales and others -and you can hear what else they are saying HERE
We could all probably use something to make us smile after focusing on the tragedy, so here is a picture of one of my cats. I found this while browsing through my older pictures of pets and had forgotten I’d taken it. This is John. As a kitten, he was named Little John, but then he grew up to be Big John, and we started simply calling him John. He was well loved, and loved us well.
Finding his picture made me smile. Hopefully seeing it will bring a smile to your face.