Standoffish! Disconnected! Antisocial! These are qualities witnesses used to describe Stephen Paddock, the latest mass murderer in the United States. These are adjectives repeatedly used to describe murderers – one of the worst kind of bullies next to pedophiles. As a nation, we have not been able to come together to build more gun control. It seems to have become more of a political issue than the moral issue it really is.
All we do is repeat the adjectives in the news each time a mass murder occurs. We did it in Columbine, in Aurora, in Newtown, in San Bernardino, in Orlando, in Charlotte, in Las Vegas and everyone in between; not to mention the mass murders that happened before these. Children are within earshot of the news while their parents watch. They passively absorb that killing is an option if they are distraught. It is what people do. Is this message acceptable?
So what to do? Nothing we have tried has been successful in preventing mass murder. As a teacher, I see that most new schools are being built far off the road, with tall wrought-iron fences and securely locked doors on the outside entrances to each building on their campuses. This may or may not keep out a would-be mass murderer, but what is being done inside the school to change the mindset of children? What is being done at home to reinforce that message? What is being done on the playing field or gymnasium? What are adults in the community doing to give credence to the message of a life of peace with kindness, respect, compassion and no jealousy?
How many more mass murders do we have to experience before we begin to create a culture of peace? The children are our future. Let’s start there. It is much easier to soak through a sponge than a hardened wall, especially if we all do it together. We can and must do it!
"I believe that children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier"
Linda Creed, Lyricist
‘The Greatest Love of All”