I’ve been somehow involved in education for about 13 years. At this point, I’m subbing – mostly at the local HS, sometimes at the local middle school where my education career started. I’ve a daughter in public school.
With all the school shootings, am I scared for myself, my daughter, and the students I’ve come to know? Yes.
I don’t espouse the idea that violent video games/movies, etc. are responsible; seems to me that this belittles the issue – like avoiding a cancer screening because the abdominal pain is “just indigestion.”
I do think that, like a stubborn virus or infection, the cause is a gnarled lattice of factors fit for Dr. House.
Submitted for your review, internet, I’ve identified two components that I believe to contribute to our troubled times –
- The second amendment/right to keep and bear arms –
Let me start by saying that the right itself is not the issue. The issue is the narrow-minded, no compromise mentality of its proponents
Does your right to keep and bear arms supersede my right to peace of mind from knowing that my daughter, her friends, students I’ve come to love in my own way, and my own person are safe as we go about our daily lives? Another way to say this might be my right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.
Listen, we don’t have an amendment that specifically says “The right to attend school without fear of being massacred by a confused guy with an assault rifle.” BUT, we do have one that “Protects rights not enumerated in the Constitution.” (amendment #9)
This is a gross oversimplification of that amendment, but we can no longer imply safety and security for ourselves individually in this once great nation (still waiting for you to “make it great again”, comrade president – dead school children and unchecked bigotry do not a great country make).
Anyway, as “The right to attend school without fear of being massacred by a confused guy with an assault rifle” is not “enumerated” and we’ve become perverted enough as a nation to think that the right to own a shiny piece of metal that makes lots of noise and puts holes in things is more important than the life of someone’s child, perhaps it’d be appropriate to “enumerate” this right or invoke the ninth?
Let me be clear – I’m not saying take away all guns. I’m simply saying that we need to have a more rigorous process for acquiring a gun and to prohibit the sale of assault rifles to civilians.
To accomplish that, we need to compromise.
HERE, the blogger from Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status
provides several compelling reasons why civilians don’t need automatic weapons.
Ok, I feel like I’m digressing. Shootings are merely one symptom of a much deeper problem. Getting back to the virus/infection analogy. There’s a school of thought that says that society functions like an organism. A dysfunction occurs when some part of that organism fails to perform properly and throws the whole system into chaos.
So, what social organ is dysfunctional? It would be tacky of me to raise this point and not offer my explanation, so here goes –
- “LOOKATME! LOOKATME! LOOKATME!”
In my opinion, our country suffers from an affliction that I will call “snowflake syndrome.” We have become accustomed to praise and recognition of our achievements, no matter how small, we are surrounded by stuff we want but can’t afford and a social media juggernaut that has evolved beyond our control.
This paints a picture of a world of material success and social acceptance – for most Americans, is that the case? The individual has taken over. Instead of “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, it’s “ask what my country can do for me, then sue for more”
Listen, internet – my education is in sociology. Indeed, in my case the old phrase “if your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail” rings true. When I hear of a mass shooting or other such atrocity, I instantly look for information about the suspect’s race, gender, socioeconomic background, affiliations, etc.
Such information can be compared to ingredients in a recipe – each of us is a dish made with slightly different ingredients and preparation instructions. Time in the oven could be family makeup, oven temperature could be schooling experience (public/private, and so on), an extra teaspoon of salt might be an abusive dad.
You will, as many have, say this is far too simple for a creature as complex as a human.
Such a “flavor” prediction is far from possible at this time precisely because of its complexity. Is it possible? Given rigorous application, yes I think so.
“But wait, I’m a special and unique snowflake!” cries the millennial. In a way, that is what the school shooters are saying with their actions. Gloominess and despair that was once reserved for suicide have become a license to commit atrocities in order to take center stage in a nation obsessed with being a unique individual.
We are not a nation of ~327 million people, we are a collection of ~327 million egos that happen to live on the same patch of earth.
Based on the demographic data from 2016 found HERE), that number includes a hair over 200 million white people. To each individual white person living in the US I say, you are not special.
Almost 60 million of that population is Hispanic or Latino. To each individual Hispanic or Latino person living in the US I say, you are not special.
African Americans are more than 42 million strong. To each individual African American living in the US I say, you are not special.
Even the American Indian/Alaska native population sports a shade over four million. While this certainly makes you more unique I still must say to each individual American Indian/Alaska native living in the US, you are not special.
I hear the refrain of a lonely white person in Hawaii “surely I am unique among all these copper-colored people!” . To you I say “nay! You are but one white bird in a flock of 266,400!”
“What of me? A female in the far flung land of Alaska.” To you I say “don’t despair madam! You share that frozen chunk of earth with 350,499 other members of that whimsical gender!”
It gets better, dear reader. Take heart, foreign-born male of two or more races located in Payne county, OK, seek and ye shall find 71 other souls in circumstances as unique as yours.
I could continue on like this – “I’m a white woman with red hair living in Waldo county, and I’m so frustrated that I can’t fit a whole hand into a Pringles can.” I don’t know if you will find other redheads living in Waldo county vexed by the same predicament. Believe it or don’t, a community over 900,000 strong shares your frustration. Find it HERE. You’re welcome.
Some of you are asking “where’s Waldo… county?” It’s in Maine. The county seat is the city of Belfast.
Moving on… if you’re like me, then you can’t abide standing idle watching your hot pocket spin as its bombarded with microwaves. That’s 90 seconds that you could’ve spent cleaning out your belly button or throwing away expired cans of pinto beans. Look no further than the Facebook group entitled “Accomplishing something before the microwave reaches :00” I tell you what, I’ve since joined this thriving (1 million +) association of go-getters, and I’m wracked with anticipation to learn the nuggets of wisdom that are surely waiting for me.
HERE is a short list of groups that cater to very particular interests. You can bet that if there is a group established for the sole purpose of spending Sunday mornings cleaning public toilets in Japan for the fun of it, you’ll find something out there that offers an opportunity for you to rub elbows with like-minded individuals who are as “unique” as you are.
It is my first instinct to apologize to anyone I’ve offended with my words here. However, the persons inclined to be offended by my message are the ones who most need to hear it. That said, let me offer some consolation – you are very, very special; as special as everyone else on this plot of earth with its imaginary borders and it’s constitutional government.