Our Kids Deserve Better

The massacre at Columbine High School happened on my 18th birthday in 1999. The school shooting in Paducah happened in 1997. These are the first two school shootings that I remember vividly in my childhood & adolescence. Sadly, they weren’t the first nor the last. Since the Columbine Massacre there have been 181 school shootings in the last 17 years, 222 students, faculty, staff and other victims were murdered and 319 people were injured. That averages out to 10.6 school shootings A YEAR, almost once a month. An average of 13 people die a year in school related shootings and approximately 19 people injured a year AT SCHOOL.

I woke up this morning and checked the CNN headlines in regards to the most recent shooting yesterday at Alpine High School in Alpine, TX and was sincerely shocked to learn that the shooter (and victim) were female.

As the mother of a 13 year old daughter, I sit here writing this post this morning in astonishment. I understand the importance of being prepared for any kind of disaster at school, but man, shootings? Really? What’s our world coming to?? I feel like there is so much that we as people, as a society, as parents are missing. Just 2 days ago it was announced that the 500th person was killed in Chicago…..500. I feel like I have to spell it out: five hundred people have been murdered this year alone in Chicago.

Darren Seals – a young black man from Ferguson was found murdered in a burning car this week, too. THE SIXTH young black man from Ferguson found in a burning car in TWO YEARS. 

Countless tragedies of violence continue to plague our cities and our country and I can’t help but be compelled to believe that help starts at home. Violence among other things are an epidemic in our society. And although I believe whole heartedly that things like natural disasters occur as population control, violence toward our children and one another is not something I’m willing to accept as a part of life.

As a mother who talks with her daughter everyday after school about school and what’s going on, I see so much hurt and pain in children that my daughter talks about. For the past couple years there has been one young lady in particular that she discusses the most. Based on the stories my daughter comes home and talks about, I can’t help to think to myself: the anger and aggression this child shows is so much deeper than what my daughter has the ability to understand. Bullying, another epidemic in our society, to me is just a symptom of other issues.

I tell you what, as a recovering drug addict, I think coming to terms with my addiction and all the past issues in my life that caused it has made me a much more insightful human being and a better person as a whole. Being able to see the imperfections in myself has allowed me to see the imperfections in others. It’s allowed me to stop being clueless about what’s going on and instead I am able to see things for what I really believe they are: HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE.

All of this violence in our big cities down to our small communities and our schools comes from being HURT….this outrageous violence is our society crying out for help!!!!

So what do we do? How do we ensure the safety of our children? How do we stop the senseless killings of people all across our country? We become better fucking parents, that’s how.

Now, let me make a disclaimer – sometimes the best parents in the world have children who do stupid shit. That, I believe is just life. Some shit just happens for no rhyme or reason. But 181 school shootings in 17 years, 500 murders in 8 months – that’s not shit that just happens, that’s a SYMPTOM of something much greater!

I am not perfect by any means. I’m blessed beyond measure. But let me tell you about seemingly small hurt and it’s huge ramifications. I grew up in a perfect family. My dad owned his own business, my mom was a school teacher, my brother was a star athlete and I was the book worm. I thought life was grand! When my parents sat me down at 13 and told me they were getting a divorce, my world was turned upside down. You may be thinking “oh well everyone gets divorced, that’s not a big deal.” That’s where we as people fall short in our understanding. We never really know how something affects another person. That “small” event in my life has haunted me for 20+ years. What may seem small to us may be the biggest to another human being. We have to be cognizant of that. We have to stop applying how we feel about things on to other people and accept that they may need more than what we can provide.

As children are growing and learning and becoming themselves, they have all of these emotions and feelings they don’t know how to deal with and process. It’s OUR JOBS as parents to help teach them how to process the things they have going on so it doesn’t have life lasting effects. This happens through communication and love.

As parents we have a responsibility to our children to teach them about life and how to deal with life as it throws us curve balls. Sadly, that doesn’t always happen. Many parents are just trying to survive! They are doing their best just to put food on the table and clothes on their kids backs, and by the time they get home from working 2 or 3 jobs, how on earth do they have the time to TALK to their kids about their problems when we as parents much bigger problems?

It’s sad. We have this vicious cycle happening in our society. Our homes our broken and when our homes are broken, so are our children. Just because our homes are broken, doesn’t mean we have to raise broken children. We as adults have to make the decision to change society starting at home. Talk to your kids. And if your kids won’t talk to you, get them to someone they can talk to. Get them HELP. Our society is suffering from PTSD and it’s showing – traumatically.

We’ve ignored shit for way too long and look where it’s gotten us!

I don’t have life figured out by any means. I’m just like everyone else in this world. I’m just tryna pay bills and keep from falling apart. BUT – I talk to my kid and I let my kid talk to me. She ain’t perfect either, shit. But she knows I care. And kids need that.

In the mean time, while we’re working on ourselves and on our home life – we can’t sit back and let this violence continue to occur in our society. We have to stop looking at everything as “that’s their problem” – yeah, it’s THEIR problem until that shit happens to YOU. Don’t ever be that naive to think something can’t happen to you.

Our kids deserve better, guys.