Disclaimer: I wrote this a little over a week ago. I really liked it, but it’s too long for the paper. So, here it is, for you guys to read.
I recently read an online article about Springfield Area Schools possibly having teachers carrying guns in the classroom. The idea of guns in schools brings forth a disgusting and bitter taste in my mouth. Not because I dislike guns; I own several, and a “conceal and carry” permit, too.
The bitter taste in my mouth comes from the idea that our students may need this kind of protection. That we, as a community, may feel that this is the best method of keeping our kids safe. When door locks and Tasers are not enough to keep our students safe, I worry about the type of society we live in.
This is not a call to God, or a higher power of any sort. I’m not that kind of guy. It’s a call to the way we handle ourselves, and what we accept as a society since September 11, 2001. We’ve seen increasingly militarized police kill civilians in mistakes. (Including heart-wrenching tales of flashbang grenades in cribs.)
There are situations that warrant that level of response; I feel we, as a society, are lowering our criteria for when these should happen, and the kind of oversight that these situations warrant.
Children are not ready to face the perils of society. We’ve decided that, until they reach 18 years of age, parents are responsible for them, (and in most cases) their actions. They’re not informed enough to make good, solid decisions.
Speaking as a former child, I agree.
High School students might not notice a significant difference on their day-to-day lives if they see teacher’s with guns. From the age of 14 on, we start taking a different look at the world as our horizons are expanded; as we seek out new experiences and challenge the status quo. Rebellion is a teenager’s right, and understanding how that fits into the world as a whole is part of the process of growing up. They may not suffer greatly from seeing their teachers each toting a pistol around the campus.
But a five year old, or an eight year old, or a ten year old could. The sooner we institute children into the idea that they NEED to be afraid all the time, the sooner we rob them of their innocence. The sooner we pull them out of an experience that they deserve to have. The sooner they stop being wide eyed, wonderful children and start being cynical, scared adults.
As parents, community members, church goers or atheists, how are we served as a society by pulling the wool off the eyes of children and exposing them to the very real dangers the world has, and in so doing, denying them the ability to see without fear, the amazing wonders that life has in store?
Maybe we should be afraid of madmen shooting up our schools. Maybe terrorist threats are a thing to be worried about on a nightly basis. Maybe someday I will need my concealed pistol… But I refuse to accept that our country is bowing to the idea that it is OK to be scared all the time, and make decisions from that fear.
Our country was built on a rock solid foundation of men and women who stood up together and said that this is enough. We will not bow our heads in fear, and we will not accept your rules for how we live our lives.
That tradition seems to be failing in 2014. I think we can do better. Scratch that. We can do better, because we are better than fear, and anger, and self-indoctrination.
We are not slaves to fear. We do not need to make decisions based on fear. Fear is not our master.