Thursday, October 8, 2015

No More Routine Response

I am terrified.

If you live in the United States, and assuming you've not been living under a rock, I'm sure you understand why I feel the way I do. You probably all the more understand this sense of terror, the anxiety and anger if you are a parent.

On October 1, another mass shooting happened at a community college in Oregon where 8 students and a teacher perished. Nine others were injured before the gunman, also a student, shot himself. 

The following day, Friday, an 11-year old boy accidentally shot his 12-year old brother at a target shooting outing. A man who was with the boys at the time left a loaded gun on a picnic table when the younger boy picked it up and fired the weapon, fatally shooting his brother in the head. 

A day after that, on the evening of October 3, news surfaced of yet another 11-year old boy shooting an 8-year old girl just because she wouldn't let him play with her puppy. The girl is dead. This was in Tennessee and just felt a little too close to home. 

Insanity aside, my husband and I wondered what it is that might explain the shocking rise of gun violence in our society. My Sociology background makes me most certain it can't be explained by a single socio-cultural variable, although I firmly believe that easy access to guns accounts for a lot of it. 

And it's not the amount of mentally unstable people out there that terrifies me now. What terrifies me is that I see hints (to say the least) of the type of parenting that engenders the kind of behavior that makes an 11-year old think it's acceptable to hurt another human being because he didn't get what he wanted. 

What terrifies me is that I see around me, on an almost daily basis, adult and parent behavior that could explain why some gun owners refuse sensible changes to existing gun control laws simply because of their desire to protect their right to own guns. Their guns. Their rights. It doesn't seem to matter that there are other voices out there, other more important rights to protect. What's theirs trumps all other cards on the table. 

I'm well aware that I've ranted quite a bit on this site about parents behaving badly in school, specifically in school pick up lines. But if you think about it, it is this same sense of entitlement that potentially creates who we now call 'monsters' or 'evil' after they pick up their guns and shoot innocent and defenseless lives.

It's okay to teach our children that they are special, as long as we don't forget to add that everybody is too, in their own ways. What's not okay is to model behavior that teaches our children that our needs are more important than others'. Or that we are better than everybody else and can get away with anything. 

It's okay to help out our children in times of need. What's not okay is to forget to teach them that actions have consequences, or forget to demonstrate to them how the choices we make create ripple effects and that we are all connected




I'm terrified and I know a lot of you are too. But none of us can afford to let this sense of terror paralyze us. Don't give in to routine responses anymore as our President astutely stated. That would just be tragic and morally irresponsible. 

I decided long ago that I would avoid, as much as I can, any political discussion on this blog. But I can't do it this time. I need to challenge my own routine responses even on this site. If I want to remain authentic, I need to be able to write about what rings loud and true inside me, and at present this is it. I don't want to be numb. Neither do I want to feel and yet do nothing, say nothing. I hope you will not give in to your routine response either if it translates to passivity or indifference. 

Speak up and take a stand. And I hope you will stand up for the right to live, the right to go about your daily lives without the crippling fear that you or those you love will succumb to senseless gun violence. It doesn't make sense that in the U.S. more preschoolers die from gun violence each year than police officers on duty. We can't keep saying that the status quo works because clearly it doesn't. 

Say NO to routine responses, and YES to stricter gun control laws. Change needs to happen at every level. We need to look at not only policy or legislation, but also how we live our daily lives within our families. How are we raising our children? What values are we teaching them? What behavior are we modeling? Are we creating monsters who are disconnected from the world around them and don't fully understand the meaning of humanity? Ask yourselves these questions.

There are a lot of questions to answer and a lot of introspection that needs to happen. But it must be done if we want something to change. In the end, all of us are responsible for each other. Let's not forget that. 

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*People magazine released contact information for all 535 voting members of the House and Senate on this link. Please take the time to contact your state representatives to let them know how you want them to act on this issue. Feel free to share the meme and hashtag above (#NoMoreRoutineResponse) on social media.







14 comments:

  1. I agree with you so completely! There are so many things that need to be done. Why do Americans need AK-47 style guns? It makes absolutely no sense to me. It has to stop you would have thought things would have changed after Sandy Hook. It's irresponsible to think it won't happen again and again.

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    1. Yes, no sense, right, Rena? I mean, why would you need semi-automatic weapons in your home? Zombie apocalypse??? I hope we don't give up on this fight. The deaths just keep coming and it doesn't make sense.

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  2. We asked all these same questions after the shooting in my hometown last year. It's been almost a year and we haven't even begun to heal. The young man who did the shooting got the gun from his dad, who had given him the code to their gun safe. The dad had obtained the gun illegally, and he was just found guilty, and is awaiting sentencing. There are so many issues at play here, but we must start discussing them and ACTING. Thanks for writing this great piece.

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    1. Thank you Lana. I pray for deeper, more lasting healing, not only for your community but for the nation, the world. People are just so afraid and think more guns will soothe that fear. How far from the truth can they be?

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  3. Live in UK, but confuses me how one man hides a homemade bomb in his shoe trying to board a plane and international security at airports worldwide now make passengers remove shoes, but how many shootings now...and still no change in US gun laws?!

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    1. EXACTLY, Lucy!!! You hit the nail on its head!!! It's so frustrating. I bet the Brits think this is all so idiotic and so puzzling! Thanks for your thoughts xoxo

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  4. I am with you on this one Joy. I work in mental health and know the reality of dealing with people with mental illness. What bothers me most are the children and young people who grab these guns, for whatever reasons. If children aren't being taught right from wrong, and how we all need to care for our fellow man, but are instead taught they can have anything they want whenever they want it ( I have a 5yr old grandchild who thinks just this thing, and is always so shocked when I won't let him have my iPad to play with because he demands it), then perhaps it is time to add ethics and humanity teaching in our schools, something I think we have lost touch with. This is my opinion, but if I can make a complete change in my life at 40 to work in a job that gives something back to the community and people I care for, it is completely feasible we can teach our youngsters of the importance of loving their fellow man. Is this too far fetched?

    Thanks for making such a heartfelt statement. I feel the terror you feel, and the hopelessness of doing nothing frightens me even more.

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    1. I pray these children understand that we are doing this for their own good. Thank you too, Cathy, for all your support as always! xoxo

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  5. I agree with you too Joy. I live in an urban city and hear way too many gunshots in the middle of the night - one shot is too many. I think part of me has begun to think that hearing gunshots in the middle of the night is "routine" but it shouldn't be and I know it. Thanks for the encouragement to step out and respond.

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    1. Thank you, Angela. You put it so well here---'one shot is too many'. I just can't believe that the gun accidents just keep coming. When does it all end?

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  6. I hear you, but the issue runs deeper. Many of our founding fathers lived under oppressive rule and were wise enough to know that others, far worse, like Nazi Germany were yet to come. It is a shocking, but true element of human nature. Imagine if ISIS gains control and destroys America, as they've promised. I will not go willingly into that good night, but will fight with everything at my disposal.

    As a side note, I live alone, in the middle of nowhere. I have a gun and know how to use. I don't just have a gun because someone might break into my house, because there are other very real dangers I experience as part of living out here. This summer, I killed a rattlesnake that was about to strike my dog, Sam. Last year, a coyote breached my fence and attacked another one of my dogs. If you'd heard Goldie--or your children's--agonizing screams, you would have done anything to save them. I shot the coyote.

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    1. I hear you too, Brenda. And I know that a lot of Americans will never give up their guns. This isn't really what people like myself are advocating. We know it's impossible, at least at this time. What I am against is irresponsible gun ownership and the many loopholes that current laws allow, permitting people to own semi-automatics and simply, unnecessary weapons---weapons that are clearly aimed at hurting people, masses at that. The senseless deaths are unjustifiable. Children dying from violence that could have been easily avoided just don't make sense to me. I clearly have nothing against protecting oneself from coyotes. :-)

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  7. Hear! Hear! All the recent violence is so disheartening!

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  8. THank you Joy, for the words you have written here. Hopefully the voice of reason and common sense will prevail, and we will figure out a way in this country to stop these horrible tragedies from happening!

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Let me know your thoughts!