In light of the Orlando shootings, I’m at a loss of what to say. I think back to the first time I wrote about mass shootings. It goes all the way back to Jonesboro in 1998. At the time, I wrote about how young men are responsible for these killings. In that case, and many that have followed, women were the target of these young men. Misogyny runs deep in this country and it is fueled by hate speech.
Now here we are 18 years later and not much has changed, except that more innocent victims are dead. Schools, churches, movie theaters, a Bertucci’s and now night clubs are no longer places where someone could feel safe.
Yesterday I heard comments from many in the media that we shouldn’t be talking about gun control but about mental health. I don’t think it’s that simple. We need to be talking about both mental health and gun control. Access to military type weapons is a problem. A huge problem that no one seems to want to address.
And then there is good old hate. How can we be a country that is so full of hate? I can’t wrap my brain around hate. I can’t understand how someone’s expression of who they are, can cause so much anxiety for someone else.
But clearly there are numerous young men who feel this way. Just look at this list:
What can we do as educators to 1) recognize the signs of troubling behavior and 2) teach young people the value of human life? This is a daunting task. And one that may not even be possible in a world where even a person running for President of the United States can single out a group of people and declare them all bad.
I can only helplessly hope.