Like any sane person, I felt a stomach-churning feeling watching the events unfold at Robb Elementary in Uvalde. When third and fourth graders go to school and come out in body bags, nothing can explain it.
In the aftermath, politicians dodge hardball questions, engage in circus-worthy publicity stunts, and, in the end, will kick the can down the road.
In 2018, pure evil descended on Santa Fe High School. I took particular notice because it was personal. I lived there for seventeen years and served on committees. My daughters attended there, with my oldest as a graduate.
Indeed, I believed powers-that-be would act. Instead, when the smoke cleared, a deafening silence fell over it. We ducked behind election, economy, and politics.
Easy answers would have already happened. The truth is there is no “quick fix.” There is only change.
When I was a boy, no one shot up schools. Before Columbine, schools never reeked of the sulfur residue of gunpowder. They only had the musty odor of textbooks and notebook paper.
How do we change it? I am not that smart. All I know to do is to start changing ourselves. So, let me hook up moral jumper cables and jump-start it.
Start keeping marriages together and working. Something is wrong when the “shooter” has a single mother who has a live-in boyfriend. Divorce is not an answer but poison at the base of society. Get right with your husband or wife because your kids need it.
Love your kid enough to care how he behaves—discipline misbehavior and lousy attitudes. Do not allow anger to go unchecked. Training from birth produces different people. If you wait until 15, it’s too late.
Bring back personal responsibility. Model it to others. If you mess up, don’t blame others but admit it. Earn a paycheck, and don’t expect anyone to pay for your way through life.
Make teenagers work again. Many haven’t had to find out life is serious. They don’t know how to work. Today people want to “find themselves.” If you’re going to discover that, find and keep a job.
Shut down online resources. Platforms like Snapchat and the ilk that allow you to remain private create a problem. Since the advent of social media, we warp minds. No one thinks but reacts.
Deal with tech companies who promote violence in video games. Shooter platforms are training grounds for real life. While game developers say, “not our fault,” it is their responsibility. Stop the electronic bullets.
Write better TV and movies. I watched three hours of programming on commercial TV. In the three hours, there were 12 killings, all violent—filth in, filth out.
Not one will solve the school shooting problem, but it will produce people who take life seriously. If you do that, you see it in the eyes of children.
Let’s not wait until the smoke clears again. Do something in your life and family to change it just a little. Enough nudges become a shove.