The Thing About People Who Do Illegal Things

Every time that I see something about a school shooting, my heart breaks. I think of my children and hope that I never have to feel that pain. There’s a serious problem, and the biggest problem is that everyone seems to think they have an answer but no one really wants to work together to solve this serious issue. I assure, this post is not going to go into a direction that many people want.

I don’t disagree that there needs to be better background checks to ensure that people who suffer from mental illness shouldn’t just be handed guns. That seems to make sense to me. If you are just using it for home protection or hunting, waiting an extra day to make sure everything is find shouldn’t be a big issue. Unless, of course, you have something to hide. But I’m certainly not naive enough to believe that this is going to cure the problem. Why? Because it isn’t legal gun owners that cause a majority of these problems: it’s the criminals.

I have this silly long-held belief that criminals, by their nature, are going to do bad things. Silly things like laws don’t stop them; that’s why they are criminals. There are laws against rape, but yet there is still a disgustingly high incidences of this horrific crime. Laws don’t deter criminals. But what a gun law like the one I mentioned does accomplish is that a criminal will have to work a bit harder to access the guns that they want.

Bad people are going to do bad things. Gun control laws won’t prevent shootings or violence. Walls won’t prevent people from coming over illegally. People are going to figure out how to do the things that they want to do. If there is a wall blocking them, they’ll just go around the wall. Whether this means coming by boat or digging tunnels underneath. If criminals want guns, they are going to find a local dealer to meet that need. Just like people do with drugs.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything that can be done about it. Preventative measures can be an amazing thing. Making mental health treatments more accessible, especially to these kids that think their only option is to shoot up a school. Pay more attention to what you can do to help those struggling in poverty so that they aren’t forced into a life of crime because that’s their only real option. Give people the opportunity to change their life. These are some things that can potentially have a massive impact on our country.

I’m sick thinking about all of these school shootings. How many could have been prevented if the kids felt powerful enough to admit they are struggling? We need to do better. And instead of bickering about solutions and not doing anything, how about we do something?

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Can I Just Homeschool the Boys Already?

That is what I texted my husband today. I’m pro-school. I look forward to those precious moments that I have to enjoy snacks without sharing with my kids or getting work and projects done or even just enjoying the house being clean for at least a few hours while the Hurricane and Tornado are at school. Homeschooling my children never even crossed my mind, except to decide that it wasn’t what we wanted.

Every time a school shooting takes place, I hold my boys a little tighter. It shouldn’t be that way. There has to be a better way. Even in a relatively safe location like mine, there are enough violent cities close enough to me to know that anything can happen. School shootings can happen in my quiet city as they can happen anywhere. That is scary. It is scary to know they are supposed to be safe while at school, but they really aren’t.

I received a call from my oldest kid’s school informing me that all week they have been doing lockdown drills. Since this weekend, there have been numerous “hoax” threats against schools in the area, including one threat towards a school in my city. It’s scary. I’m glad that they caught the individuals who made the threats. It should have been comforting to know that these were hoaxes and not credible threats, but it wasn’t. Anything can happen anywhere, and it is scary as a parent to not have any control over that. Especially when a bullet is found in a classroom in a school very close to us, just across the bridge in the next city.

I’m not going to make it about gender. In these cases, girls were involved in the threats. I’m not shocked by a girl doing it when statistically boys are. Girls are just as capable of malicious intent as boys are. I would even argue a point that of all my friends to cross, I would be more afraid of my female friends (honestly, me, I would be more afraid of me) than I would be of my male friends. Gender has nothing to do with these threats. Society has everything to do with this. Maybe they found it funny to cause panic. Maybe they didn’t care about the consequences because they didn’t think they would have any. I hope the books get thrown at them and they get hit in their bratty little faces with it.

If our children aren’t safe in schools, where are they safe? This is not a gun issue. If someone wanted to harm our kids and do that much damage, they could easily make bombs to cause destruction and death. This is an issue of what we are going to do to protect our kids. I’m scared. I can’t let them see it. But I’m really scared. We need to do better.

Teachers with Guns

I’m not sure about most people, but I can think about a few teachers in my time at school where the thought of them with a gun was infinitely scarier than the craziest kid in our class. I won’t name names, but trust me there are a few of them that I swear would have shot their students if they had the means to. Times were different back then. I think. I don’t even know anymore. For all I know, back then was the wild west and they all had guns. Times were different back then.

Joking aside, this week there will be a national protest against gun violence in schools where students will be walking out. (My oldest has been deeply considering this and asked my opinion. As I did the last time he pondered walking out, I shrugged and told him to do what he thought was right. Not sure where he ended up but I guess I’ll find out when he gets home.) I remember when Columbine happened. I remembered the drills that took place afterwards, where the police would actually pretend they were shooters trying to break in the classroom. It was scary, even as a teenager. I knew it was fake. I knew it was just a drill. It was still terrifying as they aggressively banged on the locked door trying to get in. Realism got the point across back then: we weren’t safe in the schools. Every time there was a fire drill, I would worry that it was a fake and something was going to happen. I remember wanting to cover my ears and trying, only to be scolded for it. I remember my chest feeling like it was going to cave in every time we had any drill at the school. It wasn’t their fault. This was just how things were going to be now.

Then, I became a parent. I wasn’t too worried about him at elementary school. Those places are so locked down that you can’t even get in while wearing a hat. Then Sandy Hook happened. I worried every time that I put my oldest on the bus to school that today was going to be the day I get the bad news. Now, I worry about both of them in school. School should be the one place where they are safe from that level of violence. Children should not be massacred in schools.

This is not an anti-guns post. I’m not anti-gun. I’m anti-crazy people and criminals with guns. There’s no perfect solution for this that will fix it overnight. People are going to hurt people no matter what. That’s a fact and a scary one. What this will be is a post that is anti-teachers in the classrooms with guns. The idea of giving federal aid to schools to train teachers to use guns and have them in the classrooms is insane to me. First of all, the original scenario: Giving guns to underpaid individuals in high-stress jobs never ends well. Also, where is this money coming from? I see a lot of policies coming out of this administration that involve money but not a lot of revenue coming in. There is also the final problem with this solution: you have schools that do not have enough money to run, buy supplies, or can’t run after-school programs. There’s no aid coming in for that. But, hey, let’s give them money so they can spend it on the NRA’s cause so I can get more money when election season rolls around. The idea makes me feel uneasy and almost makes me consider homeschooling as an option.

The point is that teachers already don’t have what they need to run a classroom and teach our children. They don’t have the time or the resources because of bureaucracy and lack of funding. But now, you are going to give them money for guns. Awesome idea. Why not make sure that the resource officer is actually on site in case something goes wrong? Why not give them that money to focus on helping kids who are bullied to the point of wanting to shoot up a school? Why not use the money to create better anti-bullying initiatives or more ways to constructively decompress at school so kids aren’t so stressed out? I can think of a dozen other ways that money could be used to help prevent these things that do not involve arming that crazy teacher that doesn’t even want to be there to begin with.

I agree with the sentiment that “guns aren’t the problem; people are.” I don’t have a gun. I’m too crazy for that. I have shot people with a BB gun and didn’t feel remorseful for it. I’m too short-tempered, anxious, and paranoid for that. Heck, I even admit to having something that can be used as a weapon around me at any given time. People are crazy and irrational. Parents are letting their kids do whatever they want without accountability, creating a culture of dumb, entitled, and even more irrational people. “More guns” is not the answer; “fixing the broken culture” is.