Most days I take anything that happens in stride because I know that typically I have a 50/50 chance of having a bad day anyway, and it’s something I am accustomed to. Happy about it? No. Accustomed though, most definitely. When it involves cruelty in the world though, and not something more personal, or close to home, it really bothers me. I hate seeing families displaced from their homes due to natural disasters. I dislike seeing that some take advantage of situations like the natural disasters to price gouge and to riot and break into peoples homes. It’s cruelty at its worst and it’s painful to observe.
As though natural disasters tearing our country apart right now are not enough, we have to throw school shootings and threats into the mix as well. I cannot tell you how terrified I used to be when my kids were still in school and news of a school-based shooting would break. It’s a helpless feeling to know your child, as well as many others, are trapped inside some building WITH the shooter and there is nothing you or anyone else can do until they are apprehended. So many times the shooter doesn’t even target specific victims despite the fact he claims to be there doing this due to bullies picking on him/her. He or she will just randomly open fire and whoever gets in their way loses. So many times I threatened to pull my kids out and homeschool them until college, but what would have been the point? It happens in colleges too.
This past Thursday a text jingled my phone just as I had sat down to begin some homework for the morning. It was an alert notifying me that all schools, including my college, had been closed down for the day. There had been threatening messages sent to a few of the local schools in my area and as a precautionary measure, ALL schools were closed down. Not just in the same town, but some schools being closed were several hundred miles away, like mine. The FBI was even involved. I learned soon after that despite there not being much information about who or what was responsible for the threats locally, that just a short distance away, near Spokane, a high school sophomore had opened fire killing one, and wounding three others at almost the exact same moment the threats had become present here. His reasoning for doing so? “He wanted to teach everyone a lesson.” Was he bullied? Yes, but he admitted to shooting indiscriminately and not caring who he took down. It was all about fear tactics and teaching the entire school a lesson. Innocent and “guilty” alike.
Our world is a mess right now. Instead of helping those around us who need help, we hurt them. Our answer to almost every scenario is violence and war. Why can’t we as a people come together? Don’t get me wrong, I know there are still people out there who do help others. Plenty of people extended a helping hand when Texas floods stranded families and animals. Yet, still, others were busy looting and harming during this time. Why? What causes these sorts of destructive behavior? Why feel the need to take advantage of an already horrible situation and use it as a catalyst to hurt someone else?
Feeling bullied? Punish the innocent…that’ll make the guilty stand up and notice. Natural disaster takes out houses in your neighborhood? Break into the houses of those lucky enough not to be hit, and punish them for their good fortune by stealing anything of value. Not feeling like going to school and doing homework that day? Call in a threat to a school and send fear and panic through the neighborhoods so you can skip an assignment or two. Makes perfect sense right? Hell no!
Stop the violence! Stop the suffering! Stop the pain! Work as one, and together we can be the change we want to see in the world.