A New Frightening Trend
I come to all of those within Life’s Struggle with the nth amount of due respect & love. Within the following piece I wish to discuss an issue & trend within the realms of education that have me extremely concerned. I am placing my thoughts & concerns within to invoke thought & dialogue for all who read this. I thank you for your time & patience.
As many of my Friends & readers know I live in the Low Country in South Carolina. A region well known for its history, scenery & climate. The last 6 mos as I tune in to the Low Country news, it seems that a week does not go by when there is not a report of a ‘gun’ being taken & found on school property. What I find even more alarming is the age of the student in possession of the firearm. Firearms are being taken more & more to school by students in Elementary & Middle School grades. We have been most fortunate not to have any casualties from these incidents however as the incidents occur more frequently that will surely change. The firearms in some cases belong to parents or older youth who do not take responsible actions of owning their firearms & properly secure them. More & more the weapons appearing on school property & buses are semi-automatics & may have accompanying ammo, which have been the weapon of choice in tragic events in our Nation & Educational realms.
In a couple of the cases the younger students may give the weapon a ‘Show n’ Tell’ status, finding it a fascinating ‘toy’. Those students within the Middle School realms find them as a means of ‘protection’ from peer elements or ‘bullying’ at large. I find it a sad & deplorable situation when any student feels he has to resort to such a dangerous means in a realm that promotes safety & protection for all children & youth. There was a time in this Nation when parents & caretakers could send their children off to school with some comfort that is no longer the case!! Children who come from dysfunctional environments & abusive situations could find some escape, comfort & joy from their daily treks to their schools & classrooms. But with firearms being brought within Educational Institutes are more frequent & such tragedies as Sandy Hook occur we must as a society realize that such events & actions affect the lives & performance of students. The ‘Boogey Man’ is no longer just under the bed or in a closet, but their ‘safe haven/place’.
There are many programs that have been initiated across the Nation to deter ‘bullying & halt ‘firearms’ within our Educational realms. Some of them have seen success, while other students tell me it only intensifies ‘bullying’ & puts them at greater risk. Some students claim that when they relate their ‘bullying’ incidents to adults within their environments, the adults hear, but do not listen. Other youth have told me when they go to their parents or other adults they’re told that the adults suffered like ‘bullying’ when attending school & survived, the recipient of ‘bullying’ will survive also. As one teen from Detroit once told me, ‘I would like to help make things better, but as I look around me I don’t see adults moving very much.’ Often left the silent burden of their own emotions the victim of ‘bullying’ & peer pressure will find a way to rid themselves of their pain & suffering. If that means carrying a weapon to school so that they can feel they have a fighting chance, then that is what they’ll do. Others who do not have support or access to a weapon may seek out suicide to stop the pain & hurt.
An inmate once relayed a story to me from his youth of a tragic event that happened to him in his early teens. He was popular in school due to his participation in sports & was attending Middle School. One day after school he was walking home his best friend’s sister. Some older teens pulled up in a car & began shooting at them. The young girl age 11 was hit by bullets & killed. The next day when he returned to school he was greeted by fellow classmates as a conquering hero. He said “Lady, I was no hero…I was all tore up & crying inside.’ Twenty years later he still weeps when the memory comes to visit him.
I've discussed this issue the last 5 yrs with youth & adults. I cringe when I get embroiled in a discussion with a pro-gun extremist who has no problem telling me that they indeed would arm their child while attending school. Youth have a different outlook & silent fear they’re often burdened with. Students are constantly reminded to be on their toes & alert in regards to any possible situation, bullying & the possession of firearms. Many of them feel that they do not enjoy the same educational experience that the adults around them often refer to from their school days. More & more students are often carrying some type of protection with them including razors, knives, sprays & more deadly weapons…firearms. Too many students & young adults have been misinformed regarding the legalities of the laws protecting & concerning juveniles. There are 16 States in the US that may prosecute youth as young as 11yrs old for committing a crime as an adult.
You will find some members within the Law Enforcement & Professional realms that will tell you the incidents of weapons being brought into schools are relatively low when you factor in the ratios of weapons to students. I personally believe that perspective is extremely detrimental to the issue of weapons in our schools. I wonder at what point it would reach a concern & crisis for them.
What about the fears & silent pain our youth face today? The student who cries on the inside because the smiling face that once sat beside them is no longer in this life. Adults often have a difficult time coping with the death of a loved one, the finality of it all…how much more so for the young who believe they have a lifetime before them? When Life goes on tilt there’s no turning back no matter how many quarters you put in the slot or prayers you put up. How many parents & children must experience loss & pain before society as a whole changes their perspective & ideologies on firearms & weaponry?
Many parents see their children as tomorrow’s caretakers & part of their legacy…how many chapters must go unwritten before they begin to ‘listen’ & seek change? As individuals & a society, when we do not seek or demand change, our youth see our stance as a ‘seal of approval’ for their conditions & actions. What role has Hollywood & the media played in regards to ‘gun toting’ individuals & gun control? What about the ‘glorified’ profiles that often are revealed within music & on the screen?
Americans rattled the halls of Washington DC over the deaths & disabilities our military endured in 2 wars. Every year in our Nation over 3,000 children lose their lives to firearms, is their value & loss any different? Whose child & how many children must we see maimed & murdered by firearms before we see new regulations within ‘gun control’? Have we made firearms the ‘crutch & cure-all’ for our fears & insecurities as a society? As our fears & insecurities increase, so do the size & capacity of our weaponry.
I wanted to share with you a few of my thoughts on the issues of children & juveniles who no longer feel safe within our schools & have fellow classmates bringing firearms into their realms. There is no clear-cut answer or resolution to this problem which grows with the silence of generations. Nor are we likely to see change when this topic is taboo socially & politically. How many more generations must pass for mankind before he returns to sticks & stones?
I leave you as I came with the nth amount of respect & love for life.