So, I’ve been meaning to write this for a few days now, but wasn’t really sure about how I was going to approach this subject. I wanted to write about the shooting that occurred in Tuscon, Arizona last weekend. Unless you live under a rock, I’m sure you have already heard that a 22 year-old man took a taxi to a small outdoor public event called “Congress on Your Corner,” and started shooting people. He obviously has some mental issues, and decided to vent out his anger towards innocent people.
I was eager to see the memorial service they held this past week for those that had passed for a few reasons. There have been numerous mentions of so-called “experts” on why this young man decided to go on his shooting rampage, and I believe all the speculation has called for a division, if you will, of many American people. It was rumored by many that Sarah Palin had something to do with it. Then there was the young man’s old friend’s dad who recalled seeing his mother at the grocery store with a thirty pack of beer in her cart (like that was the reason he went nuts). Some people were angry at Wal-Mart because they sold him the bullets. Some people were upset because he was pulled over earlier that day, but was released with a warning (like giving him a ticket for running a red light would have prevented what he did). Barack Obama was going to speak at the memorial service, and I don’t care if you agree with his policies, whether you voted for him or not, or even if you like him or not; you have to admit he is one hell of an orator.
If you did not see his speech, I am sure it is somewhere to be found on YouTube or something. It was a great speech in which he asked “us” to come together and be better people. He asked us to be better parents, to be more aware of our behavior. From what I got out of it, he asked us to stop blaming others for our mistakes, and to own up to ours. I sometimes dislike when people of a certain power/wealth/status tell us humble po’ folk on how to live our lives. Not everyone was put in the same position, and others who were, have sometimes made a few bad decisions on the way. In general, I think the American public reacted like I thought they would to this tragic event.
I had my oldest daughter come downstairs and watch the memorial with Brandey and I. I explained to her that this was a very tragic event. I don’t like scaring my children with horror stories in the news everyday (that’s what half of them are to a ten-year old), but at the same time, I don’t want my kids to be too naive, either. Of course she was sad that a nine-year old girl was killed that day, and I did my best to explain how important this girl’s life was (whether she knew it or not), and then reminded her that hers too, is just as important.
One thing that really bothers me sometimes about our country is how we isolate events like this and single them out. There is shootings every single day here in the United States. I’m not writing this to stir up a controversy about gun control, but I do believe that not every nut-job in the U.S. should be allowed to carry a gun. There is the unfortunate side of the gun control debate, that criminals will obtain guns anyway. This is true, and also very sad. I am saddened almost every day to the amount of killing that take place around us. It is downright scary.
It’s scary trying to raise our children to be upstanding citizens, and to tell them the world is theirs if they work hard for it, and then they turn on the news and hear about a nine-year old getting murdered. Maybe it’s a six-year old that has disappeared, or a convict that has escaped. As a parent, and as a regular man, I am worried about our kid’s future more and more every single day. I keep seeing articles online about North Korea obtaining materials to make nuclear weapons. I have read in the past month about the possibility that within five years they will have missiles that can reach the United States. All over the world, wars are happening, and people are dying for no reason.
As tragedies unfold we have a responsibility to ourselves, and a bigger one to our children to talk to them about it. We need to learn and understand how our children are dealing with these issues. I know that sometimes the biggest issue they have on their mind is if their dad is going to let them have a snack when they get home from school, or if he’s going to make them wait until dinner. Kids are smarter than we think, though, and I know that not everything zips past them. We don’t know what is said in our child’s schools about big issues like this unless we’re visiting the class that day, teaching the class that day, or….wait for it….we TALK to our children. Imagine that.
Maybe, just maybe, that young man who took all those innocent lives the other day needed someone to talk to. Mental issues are a dime a dozen, and I’m fairly certain that every person in this world has at least one. We don’t make it near as noticeable for others as he chose to. My heart goes out to the families of all those victims, and to those who were there and witnessed it. I’m sure it was a horrible ordeal, and they will be dealing with their own issues for the rest of their lives.
Tonight I read an article that one of the shooting victims (he was shot in the leg and the back, I believe), was arrested at a town hall meeting in which a member of the Tea Party was dismissing the issue of gun control (to wait until all the dead were buried). This 63 year-old gentleman was arrested for taking a picture of the speaker and then yelling out to them “You’re dead!” Obviously, he is still dealing with his own issues stemming from that day.
As some of you may know, one of the television shows I really enjoy watching is The First 48. I sit there and watch all these different scenarios, in which one person, or a group of people have MURDERED somebody else, I not only get queasy, but thoroughly shocked. I cannot believe how cold-hearted some people are. We live in a very scary society, and sometimes I wish I had not brought children into it. Other times, I’m excited to see my children overcome their adversaries, and SUCCEED damnit! I want them to outshine me, that’s for sure!
I believe deep down in my heart that MOST people are good, and I hate when one bad apple ruins it for a bunch of people. It’s my biggest wish that all of OUR children are bright, intelligent, caring, human beings. We can help them achieve that. In fact, it’s our biggest job we’ll ever have. Sometimes when I think about what the world is going to be like 20 years, 20, 40 years from now, I can’t help but smile and wonder what role my kid will have in it.