There’s a big Facebook group for local issues in my area. It tends to generate a lot of polarized discussion. Someone posted a question to the effect, “How do we increase the safety of public schools?” Predictably, a large percentage of responses fell into two camps:
1) We need to make it not so easy for people to access guns. Especially young people, especially people with mental-health issues. And make it difficult or impossible for people to get their hands on semiautomatic weapons. And
2) We need MORE guns. Arm the teachers! And MORE security. Barriers, locks, etc.
As you can probably guess, I side with the “camp 1” type comments.
Also I added some comments of my own:
• For a long time, I have been a staunch advocate of homeschooling, neighborhood co-op schooling, and unschooling. Even if not for the shootings. Recent events just reinforce my stance.
• Quote from Caitlin Johnstone: “If you took any armed population and psychologically pummelled them from birth with narratives about how mass military slaughter is fine while turning them into underpaid, alienated gear-turners and giving them an artificial culture mass-produced in Los Angeles, you’d probably see some mass shootings.
“There’s only so far you can warp the human psyche before it snaps. Bash hundreds of millions of people in the brain their entire lives with indoctrination programs telling them madness is sanity and sanity is madness, and eventually a few of them are going to wind up mass murderers.”
(My point in sharing this quote here is to observe that our society is sick. We have gone off the rails, and certain dysfunctional trends seem to have accelerated over the past 20 or 30 years. The rampant consumerism, the militarization, the glamorizing of violence, the shredding of economic and social safety nets.
(Mental health is definitely a huge part of the mass shootings and other violent incidents, but maybe in a different way than we have tended to think. Yes, some individuals are going off the rails. But I think the deeper root is a societal descent into craziness. It’s hard to put into words, I feel shy talking like this in a big general-public space like this, but I know some of you know what I’m talking about. Now of course, we can’t as individuals just fix societal craziness. And it won’t be fixed by voting (though yes we all DO need to vote). What we can do as individuals is what I see a lot of people doing: small individual daily acts that increase kindness and connection, cohesion, compassion. We all have to look out for each other and not rely on guns and walls and metal detectors to provide “security.”
(Finally, no offense to teachers (it is not their fault), but if it were up to me, I would not send anyone’s kid into the prisonlike places our schools seem to have become more and more. Prisonlike both physically and mentally.)