I watch the news. I hear the cries. I see the pain. All around them danger. And deaths. So much deaths. Lives wasted. One kid’s angst became 17 lives ended.
My thoughts and prayers are with them. My heart bleeds out for them. And yet.. whilst I believe in God, and I believe in the miracle of prayers, I also believe in action:
“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” James 1:23-25
“But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:18
I am a mother. When I see 17 year olds make impassioned please for action, I feel a sense of shame for my generation: We are supposed to protect our young. Instead, our indifference has forced victims to protect themselves while still in the depths of their trauma. I feel indignation with the law and the people who make them, and how no laws have been put in place to prevent these tragedies. Almost 20 years. And yet greed prevails over human lives. What have we done? Not enough.
I am a mental health worker. I was a school counselor. Over the years, there have been many many new protocols added to our system: the countless trainings I have conducted, and the workshops I have facilitated for the young, needy, and the troubled. We have started the work. We need to move forward with more- We need more sensitivity. We need more compassion. We need more workers. We need more resources… Our conscience and means now are not enough.
I believe in protection. I believe in self- defense. I even believe in guns. What I don’t believe in is the unlimited access of guns by violent people. How this is still a debate baffles me. If you are a responsible gun owner, this should not cause you worry. How do minors get access to guns in the first place? Minors can’t drive or drink and they get guns?! How does a disturbed youth with reported violent tendencies legally purchase a gun?! I have personally dealt with violent clients and suicidal students. Did they want to hurt others? Yes. Were they able to kill anyone? No. Because they have no means. My workplaces were located in one of only 9 states that does background checks, which should have been common sense and nationwide at this point. What people make out to be complex is quite simple really: violent man+guns=killings. How is there still no law to address this? Our laws now are not enough.
I don’t subscribe in an either/or belief. Mental health and gun control reforms are not mutually exclusive. What is the harm in improving both systems? What is the point in blaming one or the other? What is the sense of a government more intent on providing distraction rather than protection of its youth? Our government is not enough.
So enough is enough! We can all work together to force action from the people we voted to protect us. Rallies, lobbying, petitions, calls, fundraisers, votes. Let our voices be heard. We can all work on sensitivity and bullying. Be the voice of reason and calm in our community, our workplace, our schools, our homes. In our relationships with friends and strangers. In big things like parenting, discipline manners, marriage, peer pressure. And seemingly little things like road traffic, pay it forwards, and stranger hostilities. Let arrogance and judgement have no room in our hearts and mouths, and let kindness and understanding rule over everything else.
So.. Let us still come together in thoughts and prayers. And put our prayers into action. As our prayers provide first hope, our actions make this hope a reality.