School Shootings: Had enough of innocent children and their teachers dying yet? I know I have!
From a friend who suffered the trauma of school lockdown as a nearby school was being attacked:
18 school shootings in 45 days… My heart is breaking that this is the “New Normal”. I can’t even imagine what these Florida parents are going through… Only a little, not even close. Pray, my friends, pray for the students, parents, teachers and the shooter. Yes, the shooter. And his family. Encourage your kids that “if you see, hear something… Say something”. Honestly, I don’t even know where I was trying to go with all of this. Just that I’m scared. I’m scared for the future of our kids. What do we do? What can we do, as parents, students, teachers, law enforcement to prevent this? Dang it… 17 people died today. For no dang reason. …
Yesterday from one of the teachers:
“We did everything that we were supposed to do. Broward County Schools has prepared us for this situation and still to have so many casualties … for me, it’s very emotional because I feel today like our government, our country has failed us and failed our kids and didn’t keep us safe.”
It sure seems that this is the “new normal,” and that indeed our government, even our country has failed us. It is insane, incomprehensible, completely beyond sense or reason. How have we had 18 school shootings in 45 days and absolutely nothing is being done to stop the insanity.
I can tell you why – because the problem goes way beyond anything that we might want to point at as the “cause.” The cause is not gun laws (or lack thereof), inadequate mental health attention and funding, bad parenting, lack of safety, protection or precautions in our schools. While all of the aforementioned might contribute to the vulnerability of our schools to attack, in truth, they are only symptoms – symptoms of a system (or systems) that have failed. But again, the failed systems are not the problem. Failed systems all have one thing in common – broken people. Healthy people don’t make broken systems. Broken people make broken systems. In the same way that we cannot heal a brain tumor by giving the patient an aspirin for their headache, we cannot heal a broken system by treating the symptoms. To heal a broken system, we have to first heal the people who made it.
In other words, the systems we want to point our fingers toward as the cause of school shootings (and every other human act of violence for that matter) are not the problem. The problem is all the broken people who created and now make up these systems. If we want the systems to change, we have to heal the people who made them. Oh…..and those people who made these systems are you and me!
Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” This could never be more relevant as it is right now. If we want to see true, authentic, enduring change in our world, it has to start with us. In the most basic sense, these school shootings are merely a reflection of all that is broken in our culture (and in our world). In order to heal what is broken, we have to identify the cause. The place we search for that cause is deep within ourselves. What in the school shooters is present within ourselves? Loneliness? Isolation? Feelings of being rejected? Depression? Hatred? Prejudice? Unmanaged anxiety? Depression? Devastating loss? A feeling of not belonging? What is it in the policy makers we want to hate that is present within ourselves? Denial? Greed? Arrogance? Gluttony? Sloth? Judgment? Insecurity? What is in the overburdened, underfunded and understaffed mental health system that is present within us? The list goes on and on. What we might judge as “wrong” or “broken” in these systems is also broken in us. In order to heal/change the former, we have to first heal ourselves. As Jesus said,
“Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Matthew 7: 3-4)
If not for yourself, please do it for the children!
If we truly want to see non-violent, enduring and effective change in our world, we first have to change ourselves. As we heal what is broken within us, we can then be a source of support for others who also want to be healed. The rest, then, simply takes care of itself. Healthy, whole individuals create healthy, harmonious, effectively working systems. If this alone doesn’t make you want to seek healing…..then at least do it for the children. Please don’t let any more of them die because of a mess that someone else (we) created!