Something terrible happened yesterday. Not to me, but I'm feeling it today. 33 people are dead and 15 injured after somebody started shooting people Virginia Tech. I'm not a fan of President Bush but he said it fairly well when he said,"Schools should be places of safety, sanctuary and learning. When that sanctuary is violated, the impact is felt in every American classroom in every American community." It captured the feeling pretty well except that it left out a group I am a part of. Parents. As a parent it frightens me. These weren't my kids, but it could easily have been. This event has many people asking, "Who is responsible?" I started at that point but am now on, "How am I responsible?" ...
Let me preface that previous statement with what I mean by responsible. For me, responsibility is being cause in the matter. So the question restated is, "How did I cause this tragedy?". Once stated like that it lends itself to, "How can I prevent this tragedy from happening again". Before we go to that let's stay focused on the first question.
Obviously, the shooter was the one that did the shooting ( poor sentence but simple and accurate ). Who was I being, that had this person decide to kill people before killing himself? How does a person get to the point that a shooting spree and suicide seem to be the only option left in life? The only answers I come up with point to seperateness.
Our society is becoming more seperate every day. Our houses are set up so we never have to see our neighbors. My daily commutes are filled with examples of people being inconsiderate to other drivers, often times breaking the law, because in their car they don't have to think about people in other cars. We hear so many stories about how terrible other people are; so we do our best to not talk, look at or even acknowledge the presence of other people. And yet, here we are. A tragedy has occurred, most likely due to this seperateness that was suppose to protect us.
Perhaps instead of being seperate to protect ourselves, the answer lies in coming together. Many people will blame the shooter's parents for his actions. This helps to let themselves off the hook. The reality is, it takes a village to raise a child and we need to start acting this way. As a parent, I can raise my kids to be the best they can be. However, I can also do this for other kids I meet. I can teach my kids to be respectful of other people, and I can practice what I preach. I can teach my kids many things about how to relate to everyone they will meet. They will also learn a lot from everyone they will meet. I should return that favor by teaching and learning from all the people I meet. But what about the bad, evil monsters who will prey on such social interactions?
Sure, there are people who might take advantage of this, but hopefully I can learn how to protect myself from those situations and teach others as well. There is no need to cut myself off from society all the time because of the minority of terrible actions out there. Time and again we see how great the majority is by their reactions to these tragedies.
In short, yesterday's tragedy was another wakeup call to all humans. Don't just hit snooze on this alarm. I can make a difference, you can make a difference and we can make a difference in so many lives that this type of horrible event does not become so common that we become numb to it. Thank you for reading.