That is my hope (and prayer).
Just returned from the DC march. It was inspiring to see people from all walks of life uniting for one cause. As usual, it’s a shame it takes a tragedy to turn the tide.
I went to see Let It Be a couple nights ago. Century II in Wichita was filled with grey headed folks reliving our youths and the music of The Beatles. When Imagine was performed, cell phones lit the air as arms waved rhythmically back & forth and we all sang along. I wanted so badly to stand and shout out to ask what happened to our generation….I hope these young adults do better.
Carla I agree. We were the generation that fought against the Vietnam War and for civil rights but we copped out and opted for the money. We proved that young people can change the world hopefully this generation will do it also.
Your generation changed the world.
Compare how things were in 1960s as compared to 1970. An astonishing, radical change. And the effects of the 1960s continued to reverberate for decades, and still do, IMO.
I’d like to say I watched her whole speech, but truthfully it was mostly sobbing.
I’m so so so very in awe of these young people – I can’t call them kids or even teens anymore. Just young people fighting for change.
I can’t wait until they are old enough to run for office.
It’s been estimated that with only a modest increase in very young people voting, Congress would be utterly transformed.
What inspiration!! I plan t write t the editorial board of the NYT, Washington Post & Chicago Tribune to comment on the incredible courage of Ms. Gonzalez & others like her!
What is striking about the travesty of the NRA posting the fake news regarding these courageous young people. In addition, the unconscionable persistence of the NRA to frighten people & continue to hide behind the 2nd amendment.
I recall riding in a cab 2/15/18 & was asked “how are you?” I remarked not so good as I was reeling about the travesty of yet another massacre d/2 easy access to military style weapons. This moron proceeded to spout the usual rhetoric about “being able to protect ourselves against the govt.” I responded with, “Clearly you have not lost a child or grandchild, nor has one of your loved ones childhood & soul been traumatized & destroyed by one of these latest shootings. Which have occurred in rapid succession just since Jan 1st & a cont’d litany since Columbine.”I am horrified to have ridden in a cab with one such as you who seems to be out of contact with reality & very disturbed—& persistent in the fallacy that our founding fathers could have envisioned military-style assault weapons being necessary for protection against the govt.” I did not say anything until stepped out of the cab as it frightened me. Those types use any type of gun as an excuse & tacit apprval for their agenda.
Emma Gonzalez is a very powerful speaker, I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran for office when she is eligible. All of the speakers did a fantastic job in the “March for our lives” rally. They are wise beyond their years.
I agree, Cindy.
These young people give me hope.
Like the characters in the ‘Wizard of Oz’, these kids have the power to stop violence in schools. I don’t believe this is a gun problem, although i’m of the opinion that unstable people shouldn’t have access to guns. If these children would pledge that they would stop the cliques, ostracism, shaming and cruelty that happens everyday and is tolerated in our schools, you would not have teens so alone that they commit suicide, or pick up a gun and shoot their peers. They could sit with the person no one would sit with in the lunchroom. Befriend the LGBT student. Not tolerate fat shaming or name-calling. I don’t have my head in the clouds like a modern day Pollyanna. I did this in my high school and I know that when someone is included and made to feel like they have value, they have no reason to retaliate. By the same token administrators should not put up with cruel behavior in students. They typically ignore the problem. I think the students zeal is admirable, but misplaced. I know it is within their power to reach out to students that are at risk for depression, suicide and violence. And I challenge them to start today to see the bigger picture and act on it.
This is nothing more than victim blaming survivors. “If you had been nicer to him, he wouldn’t have shot and killed your friends” is no different from “If you hadn’t been wearing such a short skirt, you wouldn’t have been raped.”
It’s also factually inaccurate. Most mass shooters weren’t bullied kids. The Columbine shooters were not bullied. Dylann Roof wasn’t bullied. Adam Lanza wasn’t bullied. Many of these kids did wind up being ostracized by their peer groups BECAUSE of the behavior that eventually led them to become shooters. For example a lot of the reason that Eric Harris didn’t fit in is that his peers talked about how he would march down the school hallways in a black trenchcoat, giving Hitler salutes and saying “Heil Hitler”. Nikolas Cruz had years of history of acting violent and abusive which is why people avoided him. But their pathology was already there – the ostracism was a result, not a cause.
And telling kids that they need to cozy up to someone who gives them a serious “danger” vibe is criminally irresponsible. “Oh I know that kid talks about killing and genocide and says he hates black people and gays, but it’s your responsibility to be nicer to him so he doesn’t become a spree shooter.” Yeah .. no.
Additionally the “bullying” narrative completely ignores the fact that girls are also bullied at an equal rate. Women also grow up in poverty, suffer abuse, suffer bullying, suffer mental illness. Yet you don’t see young girls picking up guns or building bombs and attempting to kill mass numbers of people. You don’t see a woman deciding to stock up on guns and bump stocks and start shooting into a crowd of music goers.
Nor is it the ignored LGBT kid that is shooting up the school. Statistically LGBT youth are far more likely to commit suicide than to commit violence against others.
Of all the mass shooters we’ve had since the mid-80s, only 2 of them have been women: Jennifer San Marco and Brenda Spencer. But the rest of them, nearly 100 shooters, have been men. And a good number of them left “manifestos” talking about why they did it: Because they hate. Because a woman rejected them. Because they were still virgins and they thought women owed them a sexual experience. Because they were racist and the black men were taking all the white women (see Dylann Roof). And I could write paragraphs on the links between domestic violence and mass shooters.
So maybe instead of blaming kids for not being “nicer” to mass murderers, we need to talk about toxic masculinity and why it inspires young MEN full of anger and hate to pick up a gun and start killing people. And not just mass shootings, but regular shootings. Men commit almost 90% of all gun killings in the US. We need to talk about how men and boys are conditioned to express anger with violence. How they are taught that being a real man is about shooting guns and flexing their muscles.
Sorry for the length, but this “be nicer to the bad kids and they won’t shoot you” is a huge hot button issue for me. Not only is it wrong, and dangerously so, it’s victim blaming, as I said up top. It’s the “feel good” solution that isn’t really a solution at all.
Wow, Kara. Wow.
And thank you for the articulate response.
Also, for anybody to say this isn’t a gun problem just astounds me. For, yes it IS about guns.
America is gun crazy and as a result a massive amount of people die from guns.
In the UK, for example, kids also get picked on in school. But we never read about hundreds of kids a year being blown away from assault rifles. Why? Because there is gun control in the UK.
Also, assault rifles cause a massive amount of damage. The difference between being shot by a regular gun, and being shot by an assault weapon, is disturbing. The former means that a bullet can cleanly go through the body. Chances of survival are high. An assault bullet tears apart a body. Survival is rare.
It’s inconceivable to me that assault weapons are legal in the US.
And why does America have a massive gun problem? Because so many politicians are owned by the NRA. That the NRA is more important than kids being safe is the true horror.
I have watched during that last twenty years as kids being murdered in school just fades away from the headlines days after each incident. And what about Las Vegas? 58 people dead and 851 injured yet the headlines moved on after less than a week. But I guess that wasn’t a gun problem, either. And I guess that the victims, none of whom even knew the shooter, were somehow responsible.
But finally, finally, thanks to these INCREDIBLE young people from Florida, the horror is not being erased in a convenient day or two.
I applaud and honor these young people. They give me hope for a better future.
And they will be voting soon.
Thank you Ross. 🙂
I agree with you 100% … this is a GUN problem first and foremost. We have young men who are taught that the very manifestation of being a man is getting a gun and shooting it.
As I said in response to someone on FB … whatever the underlying cause is, we need to get guns out of these people’s hands. When you see a kid hitting other kids with a stick, you don’t try to figure out WHY he’s hitting them. You take the stick away. THEN you ask questions and figure out why and work to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Kara! Perfection. Thank you. Keep saying this, over and over again, every opportunity that you have.
Bullshit, Kara. I was a persecuted kid in a Catholic grade school. I wasn’t only tormented by classmates but also by the teachers. No one reached out to me, from that school. It only stopped when I became stopped being a victim. I experienced cruelty many thousands of times. Maybe children are far more angelic where you’re from, but in Southern New Jersey my peers were a bunch of little bastards. I’ll agree that toxic masculinity, if it is the root cause of mass shootings, should be studied. But children are not a bunch of angels and they need to be taught empathy. And school administrators need to take harassment and bullying seriously and not tolerate it at all. I’m not blaming the victim. I just don’t believe the answer is a political one.
And yet you haven’t picked up a gun and mowed down a school full of children.
I’m unsure what you think about my post is bullshit, but I’d be happy to listen if he wanted to actually have a rational conversation instead of throwing around swear words and attacking me.
To add, I am sorry for the bullying and the pain that you suffered Michael. You still clearly carry scars from it and it still hurts you. And I’m so sorry for that.
I don’t know a single child who wasn’t bullied or mocked in one way or another growing up, but some were worse than others and it does leave a scar. I have my own stories of being teased and mocked and bullied as a child. I also have my own scars from being the child of an abusive alcoholic who beat me and my mother. We all have our own pain and scars, and it’s clear that you bear yours as well.
But I do think you’re conflating your personal pain and experience with bullying and your desire for both kids and educators to be kinder and more inclusive… which is a very valid desire… with factual information about mass shooters.
I think it is absolutely valid that kids need to be taught to approach those who are outcasts, to be kinder, to not bullied those who are different, and all of those things. But that is a completely different and separate conversation from preventing gun violence. And gun violence is a political issue, whether you believe it is or not.
The Dickey amendment has prevented gun violence from being studied as a public health issue for decades now. And that is purely political based on the gun lobby. And that needs to change.
The inability and inaction of Congress to enact new gun laws, even rational common-sense laws as maybe raising the purchasing age, or expanding background checks, or requiring law enforcement agencies to provide consolidated information to a centralized database on gun deaths and violence … those ARE political issues.
Denying that they are political issues and need to be addressed as such and need to be rectified as such is putting on a set of blinders and allowing gun violence to continue. As long as gun rights organizations can contribute millions of dollars to political campaigns in order to get studies and record-keeping stifled, then it is a political issue.
Refusing to see it and treat it as such is simply turning a blind eye to the problem.
Thank you, again, Kara, for your articulate and respectful responses.
Like Michael and you, I was profoundly bullied ins school. It was so bad in ninth grade that I wanted to kill myself.
But at no point did I think: Oh! I can solve all this by getting my hands on an assault weapon!
And I agree with your observation that Michael is conflating two very separate issues.
And I agree: the issue IS political. How can it be anything else when the NRA owns politicians?
I have not had therapy for my experiences in school, although I agree it would be beneficial for many reasons. I have made peace with my past, and yes, I decided I would not be a bitter or vengeful person. And I would not be like my parents, both of whom had emotional issues from being Europeans caught in the second world war. My father was tortured as a prisoner of war. My mother lived in poverty and was sexually abused. They were both angry and emotionally disconnected from their children, except when they were angry. Then would come the hard slaps, whippings and worse. I was a traumatized, vulnerable and meek person by the time I entered kindergarten. I didn’t know any other world except my own of humiliation and ostracism, and that came from teachers too. So I made my decision I was no longer going to be a doormat and take abuse from anyone, and neither would I allow other people to bully, ostracize, or mock others, if I could help it. I am not a gun advocate and I don’t easily jump on other people’s bandwagon. I reiterate that teens could look within themselves and not contribute or accept abusive and cruel teen behaviors. And I don’t claim that this will stop all teen depression and suicides, and acts of violence. But I believe that if people see the humanity in their peers, they would be much less likely to lash out. It would seem to me that this phenomenon of mostly violent boys should be studied, because to know what is causing this means everywhere something could be done to prevent it.
Michael I understand what your saying, I went through the same. However, the schools do have anti-bully rules and have been inforcing being kind to each other. That is all besides the fact. To be born with little or no empathy and then be able to buy a gun like an AR-15 to make a name for yourself dead or alive is another issue. AR-15’s do not belong on the streets period. Guns are not toys. Don’t raise your little ones to play with guns. My family thought I was nuts cause I wouldn’t buy my boys toy guns. TO BAD, Guns are not toys. Well said Kara.
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