Every Friday night Austin over at The Return of the Modern Philosopher comes up with a different philosophical question for all to ponder and discuss. He usually keeps things pretty light, though always thought provoking. However…
This week’s topic: There was another school shooting yesterday, this time in Oregon. Why does this keep happening? Why can’t such incidents be stopped? Are we doing anything to make our schools safer? Is anyone else sick of feeling like this sort of thing has just become part of the American way of life? What else is on your mind about this topic?
First let me say that my deepest condolences go out to all who are affected by this tragedy. The opinions henceforth are my own and I admit I am not an expert in anything relevant to this topic. I worked in social services with children who had behavioral problems for three years, but I do not consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination.
I don’t believe there is any one answer to stop this madness. I don’t think stricter gun control laws are the answer. I don’t think we can “make it stop” any more than we can make child rape or bank robberies or drug trafficking stop. There are so many angles of approach to this problem, from which do you begin?
Children who become shooters have slipped through the cracks long before an event like this occurs. A child does not go from well adjusted one day to mass murderer the next. There is a progression of behaviors, signs of distress that should not go unnoticed. Yet here we are, discussing another national tragedy, another mass shooting.
Parents need to be held responsible in many ways. Take the time, no matter how hard you work or how exhausted you are or how resistant your child is, to KNOW your child. Also, make the effort to KNOW if there are weapons in your home. If you are the one buying them, KNOW how to secure them from your child/children. You are the adult, BE the adult. If you fear your own child, GET HELP. Tell someone, call the police, keep calling the police. Tell your child’s teacher and principle, don’t remain silent. There are resources out there, sometimes they are hard to find, which is completely illogical but true. On occasion, you actually have to fight to get the help you need, also ridiculous if you ask me, but what do I know? Be persistent. Nobody said parenting is easy.
Then there is school staff. Teachers, social workers, guidance counselors and security guards see these children weekly. I worked in schools for an outside agency, I witnessed some of the dynamics between students and staff in different settings. Staff would warn me that so-and-so was having a particularly rough day, or fill me in on the latest drama going on at home. Even in overcrowded classrooms with overworked teachers, they are aware of changes in the behaviors of a student. They know which students to keep on eye on to maintain peace for the rest of the class.
In most mass shooting cases, there was at least one person that noticed something was wrong with the perpetrator in the days, weeks or months before the incident. Another slip through the cracks.
Peers. Some of the perpetrators had friends, others were outcasts, bullied, even tormented by their peers. With all the technology at hand, it’s hard for me to imagine they are not online somewhere, on some platform, chatting or blogging or tweeting. Somebody, even just one person, has to have read something that would show a serious problem. One of the hardest things for kids to do in this world of overwhelming, constantly accessible communication is to stop communicating. I am hard pressed to believe that nobody, not a friend, peer or internet follower caught wind of impending doom. Another slip through the cracks?
Children are dying and we are all paralyzed, demanding answers and blaming others. From the highest levels of our government down to the parents who birthed the shooter, nobody has answers and nobody is willing to take any responsibility. There can be no answers and there can be no solutions. We cannot make progress until people are brave enough to start taking some responsibility.
Let me pose a question of my own.
Who should be responsible for the children that are slipping through the cracks?
*I love comments, so please share your thoughts below! This is a very sensitive subject so all I ask is that you be respectful of all opinions as I will be of yours 🙂 Any comments that are hateful or derogatory will not be approved.
**If you are new to this blog, you may want to read this.