As I sit at my desk and read the updates of the shooting in Connecticut, I am trying to gather my thoughts on this. I have no direction for this so I can't make any promises this will be coherent reading material. For so many years prior to this, I always looked at events from the standpoint of being a part of our military and was able to stay somewhat detached from the emotional side of things. Everything was easier then, things were black and white. Everything was wargamed, we would sit around for hours with the teams and talk about how you would militarily handle each situation that we read about. Barricaded gunman, hostage, whatever it was, that was our “coping” mechanism, whether we knew it or not. Now, as I am out of the military, AND a dad to a 4 year old daughter, things aren't as easy anymore. My heart breaks for those families that had to hear about the shooting and were most definately not informed right away whether or not their child had been injured. I can't fathom the drive to school wondering if my child was one of the victims. No matter what happens in this lifetime, I woudn't wish that on anyone. I look back to the mornings where Reagan and I butt heads about what is for breakfast or how fast she brushes her teeth or how long it takes her to put her shoes on. It shouldn't take something like this to make me realize that its ok to give a little ground and that I should never let Reagan leave the house with me being upset with her. The same goes for alot of different situations in our lives, sometimes we just need to swallow our pride and get over stuff. As we have seen all morning, there are much bigger issues than what we have going on in our own lives.
I guess my question is how do we keep these unthinkable events from happening more frequently. Since the Columbine shooting, there have been 31 school shootings in the United States. In that same time period, every other country in the WORLD has had has had a combined 14. This infuriates me more than anything else. Why is the U.S. going in this direction? We are so quick to point our fingers as a society at other countries and talk about all the “violence” going on, when really, we need to be pointing the finger at us. Our society is flawed. Newsflash, it is getting worse everyday, not better. Can you imagine back in 1999 what you would say if someone told you that there would be 31 school shootings in just over the next decade?
I am not a smart guy, but my guess would be that there are a number of things that are contributing to this madness. I think the fact that kids used to be outside all hours of the day and instead now, they sit inside and stare at a TV for the majority of their free time. Not only are they staring at the TV, but they are playing extremely violent video games, ones that my parents wouldn't in a million years allow me to play as a kid. Don't get me wrong, I am not so naive to think that “Call of Duty” is the reason behind these shootings, however, I think after months upon months of kids staring at bloody and very graphic violence desensitizes them to reality. Here are two interesting articles: article 1…article 2. I think another factor is the way parenting has changed over the past 10-15 years. Again, I don't think that kids should necessarily get beat when they screw up, but it sure worked for me and my brother. We knew that when we screwed up, the hammer would fall. Now, I feel that parents are more concerned with being their kids friends instead of disciplining them. Trust me, I am not winning any parent of the year awards in the near future. Reagan has me wrapped around her finger in more ways than I can count. However, I think she understands that there are some things that she will just not get away with and she fully realizes the consequences of testing me on those parameters. After a short trip to Disneyworld, which I vow not to go back to for at least 8 years, it confirmed that kids are no longer disciplined and basically run the show. If you ever want to see a glimpse of the future generation, walk thru any of the parks around 430p or 5p and take a look around. Kids losing their mind, screaming at their parents while their parents feed them ice cream or any other treats to try and keep them happy….that works right….just give them more sugar, that will calm them down….brilliant. Growing up with no discipline in a household, in my opinion, is very dangerous.
At the end of the day, the buck stops with us as parents. I think we need to start to hold schools accountable for the safety of our children. Why is it ok that it's so easy for someone to stroll in with a damn bullet proof vest and 3 weapons to a school? Is it that hard to lock down a school and have one point of entry? Does it all come down to money? Schools would have to pay security to guard the one entrance and keep track of who comes in. At the least, can they just put a metal detector in every school? Again, I am not smart enough to figure out the answers but as a group, there are brilliant people out there and we all need to come together and make it safe for our kids to get an education. The last thing we can afford to do is have schools be a place that is feared by our kids. The system is broken and it needs to get fixed. Again, for those that know me, I am not afraid to speak my mind so if any of these opinions offend anyone, I apologize…I have always been better at Snatching than Blogging:)
This is not ok…