I had another more theoretical blog in the works for June but one more school shooting breaking news headline is taking over my head and my heart right now. I’m feeling quite desperate and so are countless parents and family members of children at Reynolds High School in Portland, Oregon right now.
I am at a loss as I sit here streaming footage of flashing lights, helicopters, cops will bullhorns and desperate parents on cell phones on the iPad next to my computer. Yet one more school shooting leaves me wondering how and when it will stop. And what is this doing to our students? At what point do we risk becoming numb to this news? When will our schools turn into police states? When will we finally address the issues that bring children to the point of violence? What are the culprits? What leads to such violence? What are the warning signs?
My questions – like yours – are innumerable. My answers are few and are larger societal problems that must be addressed. The answers I see right now fail to provide an immediate solution – perhaps that’s because there is no immediate solution that can stop this horrific behavior before it starts.
Our children are becoming desensitized to violence because of video games and sensationalized movies. We are constantly exposed to media that shows humans as robots, seemingly never getting hurt no matter what physical feat or violence they face. We certainly never see the psychological impact on the characters themselves but we are absolutely seeing the psychological impact in our breaking news headlines.
Desensitization to violence is only part of the larger set of problems, however. We have a major gun and gun violence issue in this country. Too many children are medicated for conditions that are merely expressions of being children. More and more families lack the resources they need to provide a basic, safe, happy and healthy childhood for children. Our food is full of toxic chemicals having untold impact on our children and their developing bodies and minds. The school system is becoming more and more about rote memorization, testing, sitting still, regurgitating information and performing according to expectations. We are raising a generation of children facing constant levels of stress and living with anxiety disorders and *Chronic Traumatic Stress Disorder.* School is less and less about creativity, exploration, passion, joy, individual talents, and self expression. Our children are frustrated. They are scared. They are trapped. Most are surviving. A few are snapping. It is a perfect storm. How do you turn the tides of a perfect storm?
Today, a student and a shooter are dead in Oregon. The storm rages on. Please say a prayer. Maybe two.
Twitter updates on the Reynolds High School shooting: #rhshooting
Photos below were taken from the live broadcast of families waiting in a massive parking lot behind police tape for their children. Parents were directed to raise their hands when they saw their children and would then be escorted by an officer to their child. It’s just too much.
ALSO: Read my article published today for LinkedIn.com on school shootings, The New Childhood: Living In An Age of School Shootings.
ALSO: Read my blog from a year and a half ago, Living In An Age Of School Shootings.