Mass Shootings …. Only in America

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

U.S. Constitution – Amendment II

Salon Discussion#6

Schools are an intersection of humanity comprised of every ethnicity, age, gender, class and everything else in between. At this critical point in HIS-story, what more should be said about the need for making schools SAFE for children and teachers? Do we need to now teach children how to become “bullet proof” in order to be there? Recent news stories abound related to mass shootings at various places throughout THE UNITES STATES OF AMERICA – – including schools, churches of worship, grocery stores, concerts, malls, sporting events, mass transit systems etc. Random acts of violence further highlight the reality (not ideal) state of our union. All of these past and present tragedies are a clear indication of some American values run amok. Why are mass shootings not occurring in other civilized nations but remains uniquely an American phenomenon? It is safe to say that we cannot keep our children or anyone else safe in a society committed to unsafe policies deeply rooted in the American idealized view of the U.S. Constitution – second amendment to carry arms without being “infringed” or requiring basic restrictions. People kill people – – not guns  – – as some have espoused when the discussion turns to gun control legislation. While this is trUe, it is equally trUe that it is easier to obtain military grade weapons than it is to legally drink alcohol (also known to sometimes have deadly repercussions if abused). We also cannot keep children safe in a country that has not learned how to handle bullying, troubled children and mental health issues in a more comprehensive manner. We definitely cannot keep children and others safe with politicians more committed to POWER than protecting human lives.

Every generation seems to grow up with some type of societal fear. Today we have mass shootings. A  2018 Pew study found more than 50 percent of teenagers were concerned that a shooting would happen in their school, with 25 percent of them being “very worried”.

EVY Poumpouras – Author of Becoming Bullet Proof and former Special Agent, United States Secret Service 

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In writing this post, I thought about retelling the recent tragic incidents at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas with 21 innocent children and two teachers being gunned down by an isolated, troubled teenager using an assault rifle he legally purchased on his 18th birthday. After hearing the news, I tried not to imagine the scared faces and fragile bodies of the children and their teachers but the images would not go away in my mind’s eye. My heart cracked each time the faint imagined final moments streamed into my consciousness. The reality of such events reinforced just how unsafe we ALL truly are in this country. As more details of the events continued to be “unveiled,” fear vibrated with such intensity throughout our communities, it is now hard to imagine schools or any other community spaces as being a safe. How sad, unfortunate and angry does this make you feel?

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233 mass shootings in 2022

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As I’ve stated previously under my blogging section “why do good teachers quit” related to CHANGING our educational indoctrination system, nothing ever happens in isolation or immediately. Our schools are directly linked to the broader collective societal values, culture and psyche. To the extent society is healthy in mind, body and spirit, both individuals and our government, determine how SAFE our children, teachers and others will or won’t be today, tomorrow and in the future. We are – – for better or worse – – intertwined needing all parts to function healthily to make the whole.

We have to embrace the moral decline in this country. Our kids are exposed to a lot of stuff that’s harmful to them with video games, these violent video games. Some of the rap music they listen to is not healthy. We need to address this kind of stuff.

Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens is not the answer. That just leaves all the criminals with the weapons, and the law-abiding citizens with nothing to defend themselves with.

Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson – – Response to the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

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Until Americans are willing to face America trUthfully (not just the good but the bad and ugly), we are potentially headed into an abyss of despair as more children, teachers and others face uncertain and perilous times. This doesn’t have to be this way if WE THE PEOPLE, as a collective, decide to CHANGE what it means to “bear arms” and under what legal circumstances. Establishing reasonable gun control legislation with restrictions, protections and consequences is a necessary component for making everyone safer contrary to the position taken by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and some politicians. We also have to address the broader societal ills like mental health, bullying, isolated/troubled children and violence glamorized in the mass media and broader culture. Even law enforcement has come under scrutiny for its varied tactical responses to addressing crime and mass shootings (sometimes heroic/deescalating/ stopping a target and/or lacking empathy/cowardice). For example, news reports are now alleging that some police officers stood by fearing for their own lives or even ran into Robb Elementary School to rescue their own children while the gunman was barricaded inside a classroom. All of the strategies mentioned above are an important component of a much bigger picture for overall SATEFY in this country. Arming teachers and educators is not the answer either as some politicians have proposed as a solution. It is also nearly impossible to “legislate hate” seemingly so prevalent in halls and echo chambers of our communities.

RIP Robb Elementary School Teachers 
Irma Garcia and Eva Mireles

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In spite of how bleak things look, one must still hold on dearly to some sliver of hope in US – – the great American experiment  – – comprised of diverse humans being able to agree for once to fight for the our collective well being and safety of our children, educators, neighbors, friends etc. Even Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, made a surprise appearance in Uvalde, Texas to pay her respects and lend her celebrity to this cause. NO INNOCENT PERSON (ADULT OR CHILD) SHOULD EVER HAVE TO DIE BY GUN VIOLENCE IN SCHOOL OR ANY OTHER COMMUNITY SPACES! If we can all agree to this fundamental premise, WE have some serious advocating and work to do – –  both personally within our families and legislatively with our politicians. Something troubling is being said! Mass shootings are a uniquely American problem! When you have a belief built into the very soul and culture of this country, eradicating it will literally take generations to CHANGE but CHANGE we must! This sad and tragic American phenomenon tells a lot about us/U.S. – for better or worse. What will we do to diminish gun violence and mass shootings going forward? The innocents are watching and hoping to simply have a “GOOD DAY”  – – whether in a school, grocery shopping, worshipping at a church, shopping at the local mall or cheering at their favorite sporting event, etc. Where do we go from here to ensure this is possible?

Will today be a “GOOD DAY”?

Mass shootings … Only in America!

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FINAL THOUGHT ….  

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Photo by Praveen Kumar Nandagiri on Unsplash
5/31/22: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced a bill banning all handgun sales in Canada just days after mass shootings rocked America. When Trudeau’s new bill is enacted this fall it will be illegal to sell, trade, transport, or import handguns in Canada. Canada already has legislation in place to halt the sales of all military-style rifles including AR-15 assault rifles.The legislation will also allow authorities to seize firearms owned by people involved in domestic violence incidents.

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UPDATE 6-23-22

The US Supreme Court struck down a New York State gun law regulating concealed ncarry in one of the biggest gun rights cases in over a decade. 

Only in America folks, Only in America

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Update 6-24-22

House Democrats and Republicans voted 234-193 to approve a sweeping gun reform bill, sending it to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. 

The Senate voted 65 to 33 to approve the bipartisan gun control bill. The bill won the support of all 50 Democrats and 15 Republicans.
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