Here in the US were so focused on changing laws or not changing laws. Laws are important because they serves as a norm of conduct for all citizens. Okay so yeah I get all of that. Let’s figure out these gun laws so we can protect our citizens, but we also can’t get tunnel vision. So many people are focused on arming our teachers. Banning semi automatics. But what we as a society seem to be forgetting is there are reasons outside of just gun laws that are causing such events like mass school shootings to happen.
THERE’S MORE TO GUNS THAN JUST GUNS.
Kids are exposed to countless senses every day. They are full of raging hormones and trying to make sense of the senses. For example, Bobby wakes up most mornings to his parents yelling and swearing. He is an only child and is confused by this behavior, but doesn’t know anything else. He goes to school and is more quiet and introverted than many of the other kids because he tries to escape the noise for the few hours while he’s at school. He can get away from slamming doors and swearing. School starts off as a sanctuary because he knows when he goes home his mom will be pouring her next glass of wine and forget to ask how his day was. Because she’s escaping her own battles. And so is third grade Bobby. So he goes to his room and lays in bed after school instead of playing outside in the cul de sac with some of his classmates.
Bobby starts to get bullied in the 5th grade. “Why are you so weird?” Why don’t you just kill yourself?” “I bet your dad hates you.” “Aren’t you going to stand up for yourself loser?”
A few teachers notice that Bobby is being picked on a little more than some of the other kids. One teacher asks how Bobby is doing. He doesn’t want to cry in the teachers arms because he knows if anyone finds out, they’ll abuse him even more with their words. So Bobby keeps his head down and wonders where he can escape to now. Not home. Not school. Where else does a now 7th grader go?
His parents are now divorced and his mom’s drinking has escalated. His dad is dating someone knew and has lost even more interest in his son. Bobby feels more and more emotionally empty everyday, but his body is full of anger. He’s becoming numb, without the help of alcohol.
Bobby starts skipping school. He gets a couple of detentions, but his teachers just think he’s a moody teenager. “It’s the age”, they say. Is it just the age for bullying to be okay too??
What are we REALLY going to do about bullying and detecting signs of hurting kids? Bullies are hurting as well.
Middle of the week and Bobby is sitting in science class (a class he usually skips) and during lab no one asks him to be in their group. He awkwardly looks around and hears a class bully murmur another insult under his breath. “That kid has always been so weird, what the hell is wrong with him?” Followed by a series of fake, insecure laughs. Because the bully is hurting too…
Bobby is now 19. Instead of killing himself, he kills his classmates that rejected him since he was in third grade. Then he did what the bully suggested years back and he escaped his painful reality once and for all..
I ask again, what are we going to do about bullying and detecting signs of hurting kids?
These kids are vulnerable. They are resilient. Some more than others. Bobby snapped. No history of mental illness either. Other kids are going through the same things and the same confusion as Bobby, but they go unseen because only God sees everything.
I just want us to not get tunnel vision. Every single person on this earth has the potential to be great. Every single person on this earth has the ability to help someone who is hurting.
We have the ability to teach our children to befriend the quiet, picked on kid. This behavior should be “rewarded”. I put this in quotes because I’m not an expert and I don’t know what the reward is. What I do know is we constantly reward kids for good grades and winning a sports game. Let’s be better at teaching these kids how to treat one another so they won’t want to hurt others. So they feel more loved.
Let’s change how we treat people so we don’t have to change laws.