I’ve been so heartbroken for the parents of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas who have lost a child. The photos of the victims, the grieving parents, the teens traumatized by the shooting. To think that 34 parents have to bury their child. Siblings left to wander through life missing their brother or sister, meanwhile trying to hold it together for their parents whose brokenness will be shattering for years to come. The road they all must walk in the days, weeks, months and years to come is a nightmare that has just begun.
The effects of this shooting on our public have been wild and varied. Cries for gun control. Shouts of blame. Screams for change. Blame the parents. Blame the guns. Blame the psychotropic drugs. The video games. Blame society. Blame the kid.
We all want to blame someone or something because if we can squarely place the fault on someone or something we can just snap! Change that factor and then it will never happen again.
I wish it were that easy.
I’ll readily admit that when my husband and I met, he was a firearms dealer. He has plenty of guns. He hunts, takes my kids hunting and shooting, he carries a gun nearly everywhere we go and yes, I even have a permit to carry a gun.
And whether you and I agree on guns and what guns should be legal or what we should do to stop any further gun violence like what happened last week– is really irrelevant.
Because I refuse to let another gunman, another violent act that rips families apart continue to rip our nation apart on issues that, likely, we all agree on more than we disagree.
We all agree that school shootings, mass shootings, and gun violence has to stop.
There is not one person who thinks these things are good. We are all hurt, angry, afraid, frustrated, and mad as hell that these things keep happening! How we believe we can solve it may differ, but that doesn’t mean that any one group of us is wrong. It just means that we have a different piece of the puzzle to attack.
You think guns are the problem? You want stronger gun legislation? You think certain guns should be outlawed? Get after it. I hope you pursue it passionately and make a dent in an arena that needs you.
You think it’s parents? You think parents need support, need to engage, need to commit to raising kids who won’t result to violence? Find a way to pour into parents through your church, your schools, the YMCA…something.
You think it’s the drugs? The medications designed to help stabilize those struggling mentally? Go after it. Raise awareness, go after the pharmaceuticals, find an angle and get after it!
Video games? The violence they make so easy to accept and then perpetrate digitally? The way they encourage youth to take life violently…and then some children take that fantasy and chase it in reality? Find a way to raise awareness, encourage kids/families to participate in other activities. Do something to make a dent in getting kids out of, off of these games and into the game of life.
Mental illness? Bullying? Lack of faith-filled interactions? Find a way to make a difference in whatever part of the issue you can solve.
I have learned over the years that when we are afraid, hurt, or angry, we tend to lash out to those around us as a way of proving to ourselves that such tragedy could never befall us.
My pastor said so wisely last week that even though a thing may not be our fault…we have to accept responsibility. Accept your responsibility in whatever role you have to play to make our schools, our neighborhoods a safer place.
And stop wasting time and energy seeing someone who has a different method of solving the problem as your enemy. Get busy making a difference in your sphere of influence. Let your emotions inspire you to take action. Because the gun violence at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas may not have been our fault– but it is all of us– each and every one of us– our responsibility to go after the piece of the puzzle that we can solve and make a real difference in. Let’s not allow gun violence to have another win by continuing to fight one another when we all agree that something has to be done.