Yeah, I decided to chime in this time. I normally keep my views on controversial topics off of social media, but this is just too much people. We are all in agreeance on at least one point, and that is, we don’t want to worry about our children not coming home from school alive. Period. Now guess what, let’s actually chat about real ways to make said things happen, and not debate the 2nd Amendment.
I vividly remember the very first high school shooting, Columbine. I was a junior in high school, and it was terrifying. Back in 1999, we were just getting into the age of social media. We all had AOL accounts and slow, dial up modems. You could not talk on the phone and be one the computer at the same time, unless you had more than one landline. We had cell phones, but were not allowed to talk on them because it was crazy expensive. For my birthday, I got my own line. Living large. I can’t speak for everyone, obviously, but we spent more time on the phone than online. And we definitely spent more time with our friends in person than on the phone.
Not to digress, but just to compare bullying back in that day to this day. Someone who wasn’t a Carla fan, wrote a really mean story about me in a creative writing class. He read it in front of the class, and it was very obviously about me. He didn’t stop with that, though, and wanted the whole school to hear his poorly written Carla bashing story. So he made photocopies of it and passed them out in the hallways. I was horrified, and I went home early from school that day. And I could try to forget about the school problem at home and not be haunted by it online. Today, that bully wouldn’t have handed out paper copies. He would have blasted it all over all of the social media and I would not have been able to escape his bullying. And it wouldn’t have just been confined to my school. People from all over the world could have read it and laughed at me.
The big deal no one likes to say out loud is that no one ever seems surprised after the fact about which kids shot the place up. Oh yeah, he really did get picked on a lot. He was really obsessed with violent games. He liked to kill small animals. You get it. No one is like, weird, he was such a sweet boy and volunteered his free time with special needs children. So while bullying is legit part of the issue, we need to acknowledge these shooters are not necessarily sane.
The thought to shoot anyone, after the mean story debacle, wasn’t a thought because I’m not crazy. Excuse the non-PC language, but just keeping it real. I just wanted to go home and cry. At the end of the school year, I actually got to make a speech in front of our entire grade, and looked right at that jerk while I talked about not letting others define you or bring you down. He turned bright red, and I won. And didn’t shoot anyone.
Jodi Picoult is one of my faves because she researches SO MUCH before writing her books. Back in 2008, she wrote Nineteen Minutes about this very topic that still remains unanswered today, a decade later. She shows so many different perspectives that I don’t think we naturally consider. How do the parents not only of the victims, but also the shooters feel? Survivors, their friends and family, the victims’ friends and family, the teachers, law enforcement, even the judge in this story is affected more than normal because his daughter was one of the survivors. I recommend this book now more than ever. We need to all openly discuss this divisive issue, and the more perspective we can have, the better. We’re all grown ups, remember?
So where do I stand on all of the things? If someone wants to kill people, he or she does not need a gun. Don’t believe me? Read the Mr. Mercedes trilogy by Stephen King. He kills LOTS of people, and never once uses a gun. He starts off by mowing down a bunch of people with a giant Mercedes, and that’s so just the start. What I’m saying is, why are these students wanting to kill people? And why are they as people arrogant enough to think they can rob another of life? In jest, I’ll say, oh you know, just trying to not raise a high school shooter, but it’s an actual thing. We also have to not raise assholes, aka bullies.
We need to fix the heart issues here. And let’s just freakin talk about this without being the ridiculously divided Americans we’ve become. If that also means working gun reform, so be it. Maybe there should be a waiting period from when a person buys a gun to when the person can take the gun home. Kind of like how in Washington, there’s a 90 day cool down period from when you file for a divorce and when you can actually be divorced. But then again, what does that say about our society that someone would need a cool down period when purchasing a gun?
So what are your thoughts?
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