People don’t believe the tragedy at Sandy Hook happened.
Is that incredible? Well, ask yourself which is easier to believe: that we are having a serious school shooting problem in our country and it’s in the back of all of our minds, every day, as we send our kids off to school, or, I am a secret government agent hired to take away your guns?
The former would require one to take action. We all want our children to be safe in their schools, as well as our educators. The latter would result in a passing flash of anger and distain, and perhaps for a few, a constant state of rage if you are fully bought into this conspiracy theory. Which is easier to digest?
One doesn’t require action, only disturbed thought, and maybe some indignant posting. Anger feels good. How dare they concoct weekly school shootings throughout our country to deprive us of our liberty? That offers a sure dose of feel good adrenaline! The other requires each and every one of us to take personal responsibility for the health and well-being of our children. If we truly thought that a former student could go back to his elementary school and massacre 26 people, after brutally shooting his mom in the face four times before leaving the house that morning, surely we would all act to make sure something like that never happens again.
But it just did, in Uvalde, Texas. Almost 10 years later. Our response has gone backwards. Or, were those different secret agents? Have most of us been waiting for someone else to fix this horrific problem in our country by sitting back in stunned and dismayed inaction?
A quarter of Americans doubt the facts around the Sandy Hook massacre including the fact that it even happened, according to a survey by Fairleigh Dickinson, and conspiracy theories are already circulating on the Uvalde shooting. The rest of Americans, I have to believe, are waiting for some kind of plan from the top. What we now know, after over 350 school shootings in the past 10 years and a carbon copy of the Sandy Hook massacre, is that there is no plan. The plan is one we will come up with, together.
10 years ago I said that we were going to have to step up and take responsibility for the health and well-being of our children. 10 years ago I gave a talk to over 800 people in the Newtown High School auditorium, weeks after Jesse’s murder, detailing my plan to a standing ovation. 10 years ago my six year old son was brutally murdered in his first grade classroom alongside 19 of his classmates and six educators in one of the worst mass murders in US history. 10 years ago, he saved nine of his classmates lives before losing his own.
We all have the capacity for Jesse’s courage. That courage requires us to face reality and to thoughtfully respond, with love. We are responsible for creating these mass shooters, they certainly aren’t born that way. They will continue to take out their pain and rage on us until we do something to help them.
I think we can all agree that what we’ve been doing isn’t working! Let’s try addressing the root cause of the pain that eventually leads to school shootings. Unless we do, we will never get ahead of the problem. We will always be one step behind, as we are right now.
Love is the solution. Everyone has a want and need to love and be loved, and children who love themselves will not want to harm themselves or others.
In honor of Jesse’s birthday, please make a donation and support the Choose Love Movement’s no-cost Character Social Emotional Learning programs.