First let me say that I can’t even imagine the pain and suffering that these families and friends, of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland Florida, are even feeling right now.
It is with the pain I feel for them, in considering and empathizing how I would react, had it been my own child, that I write this very controversial post.
Everyone right now is crying “Gun control!” – “Keep the children safe.” Let me make it clear this is not a post that is pro or anti gun control. I fully agree with the rally that we need to do something about this and keep our children safe.
However, I feel that our energies in focusing on ‘gun control’ and forcing Washington to do something, is like trying to give Tylenol to a cancer patient who has a headache. Sure it’s going to kill your pain for awhile, but will it really remove the cancer? Removing the cancer is how we need to stop these mass shootings.
I proclaimed in my headline that I am arrogant enough to know what the answer is to prevent these shootings. I believe in my theory SO STRONGLY, I believe it WILL prevent future shootings from occurring.
A Friend’s Personal Anecdote
Before I get into the heart of if, I have story you should hear. I have a very dear friend. One of my best friends in fact; who grew up in an abusive home. Her mother was verbally abusive. She was repeatedly raped by her older brother and his friend for 4 years. Her mother likely knew and did nothing.
My friend became withdrawn and was bullied at school. She was angry and she began to vent this anger in the form of torturing small animals. There was a turning point for this person though.
She had a dog, and she was so angry one day she kicked the dog. In the dog’s moment of pain she had a pivotal point. She stopped and actually consciously thought, “This dog is not the cause of my pain.”
She began to reverse her angry and unconscious behaviors. She leaned on the few friends of support she had, and she turned to violent video games to “let off steam.”
As we are adults now, she confided in me that in her sessions of therapy it became very obvious to her, that had it not been for that one crossroads, she felt very certain that her anger might have propelled her in the direction of dealing with her rage through killing people who whose profiles were like her rapists and abusers.
Here Is My Own Story
From kindergarten to seventh grade I was relentlessly bullied by a group of girls, with one particular ringleader. To this day I have no idea why this girl hated me so much. I felt utterly alone and isolated. I reached out to teachers.
There were cries for help and no one did anything. In the fifth grade my rage was so great I wanted to do something to ‘get back’ at this girl. I broke into our fifth grade classroom and sabotaged her desk by destroying the contents of her desk to send a ‘message’.
I felt too weak to confront her, but I felt I had to do something to stop my bully. Eventually it was discovered that I was the culprit as one of my other classmates I confided in, outed me. Nothing was done to relieve my suffering; by my teachers or my parents. I was suspended for a week and my bully got a ‘talking to’.
What Am I Driving At?
We need to go to the source of what is causing these problems with children and adults in our society and guns aren’t causing the problem! People are causing the problem!
Disturbed children who grow up and become disturbed adults are causing these problems! Who’s to say that if my friend, or even myself, did not have a small handful of friends and healthy outlets to deal with our own rage, that we would not be one of these people who is a menace to society?
I do not know what would have become of me had there not been my own turning point with one person in the eighth grade who stood up and taught me that love was possible despite terrible people doing terrible things to me. She taught me that I had a choice to turn away from the abuse.
Her name was Melva Terry and her kind acts of befriending me shifted everything. Perhaps to the point that I did not become an enraged adult taking it out on innocent people.
We can lobby for gun control, that’s fine. But, I truly believe that right now, while emotions are running high, lobbying for gun control will fall on deaf ears in Washington, especially under the current administration. Furthermore IT WILL NOT GET TO THE HEART OF SOLVING THIS PROBLEM!
So What Is The Problem?
I understand that at times there are individuals who have mental illness, however here is a fact you may not know. Mental illness violence is (not always but) usually triggered by high emotional stress.
What causes this stress? There could be many factors but there are a handful in particular especially present in our society right now.
These factors could be shifted if enough people rally together and start to slowly plant seeds and make subtle changes.
There are two huge stress inducers that children live with day in and day out, that can cause a less conscientious or less mature child to be able to handle in a healthy manner. Causing them to spiral into violence to deal with their negative byproduct emotions.
These two factors are the public school system and abuse of any kind in the home. How can you as an individual take on such an ocean of problems? These are huge issues, and now you are probably sitting there thinking, “That may be true, but I can’t do anything to stop this?”
That is untrue. I will tell you how – as one individual you CAN help pull back the tide on these two enormous problems. First let me discuss in finer detail the problems itself.
Public School Is Poison
I’m not suggesting that any minor reading this drop out of school! Please do not do that!
However, I will not hold back in telling you that the very system that children have to participate in, day in and day out, is poison to the soul. In school, children are expected to attend these institutions that are run like prisons.
They are NOT taught to think for themselves. It’s sit down, shut up, read the text book, and answer the questions – for the most part. There are unions protecting teachers who have long ago lost their spark to engender a love of learning, and merely show up for a paycheck. They are tired and hate their jobs. They are sometimes abusive yet they can not be fired because they do just enough to keep themselves employed.
Meanwhile the children suffer, and society at large suffers.
Education should be a system that cultivates a love of learning. That children yearn to go to school with a feeling in their hearts of, “I can’t wait to jump into my books today to learn about this amazing world I live in!”
No, that is not the case. Most children go to the school thinking and feeling, “How can I survive today?”
School should be a place where individual thoughts, ideas, and differences are embraced, rather than being treated like a disease. The system perpetuates identity abuse and nothing is being done to fix this! Yet, we wonder why youth grow up and become adults with latent feelings of anxiety, anger, depression, and utter despair?
Then some of these youth or adults break and act out to extremes of killing others. These problems start very small in public school and at home. I was one such child who suffered from all those feelings of anxiety, anger, hopelessness.
Those feelings carried into adulthood. I didn’t act out after my crossroads but I learned to cope in a ‘healthy manner.’ Like nearly all adults who have this problem, I learned to stuff it down and ‘happily’ pretend nothing was wrong.
Abuse In The Home
I was very aware of the damage that public school had caused to my identity early on in my adult years. I realized in my early twenties that I had suffered emotional wounds, but I had no idea how to fix them.
Furthermore it would take me nearly two decades to realize I was severely psychologically abused in my home growing up. I felt ‘loved’ growing up, yet I suffered from immense identity dysphoria.
I constantly had anxiety around others that they wouldn’t like me, that I was a screw up, and that I could not be accepted for who I was. Last year I only recently realized why I carried these feelings around for years. It was because my own mother did not accept me for who I was.
She was constantly trying to shape me into becoming someone that she wanted me to be, so she could validate herself. Often when I tried to express my own person, I was criticized under the guise that making such choices, such as pursuing a dance degree to become a dance teacher, “was going to take too much time away from my young children and I would damage or hurt them somehow.” These words of criticism were always cloaked in ‘love’ and concern for me, but in reality they were not for my wellbeing at all.
This was just one example of many that I began to recall in therapy from the psychological abuse I suffered. My very good friend I mentioned earlier was subject to emotional, psychological, and sexual abuse. When she shared her stories with me I cried because of how terribly she was ground down and made to believe she was worthless. She fought for her identity, and she is now one of the most loving, kind, and giving people I am privileged to know.
Fight For Your Identity
Change can only happen one person at a time. Often an ideal only catches on through one person who is willing to stand up and fight. This is a silent and invisible war that is going on.
I personally have taken stock in wanting to form an army of people that are tired of the system and the abuse. I want to form a community of people who will help me change the course of history, by raising awareness.
Abuse in its many insidious forms runs rampant through our schools and our homes. The only people who can change this are the victims! If you have reached this point in this post, and this resonates with you, you are likely a victim, who feels the heavy burden of dealing with this abuse, but have no clue how to relieve the pressure.
You start by joining my cause. I know that sounds trite but one of the things that causes people to crack, when they are victims is that they feel alone. Know right now that I understand what it feels like to be held down, to be isolated, and to have your identity nearly snuffed out.
Knowing you are not alone is the first part.
The second part is reversing the damage that has been done.
Fixing the broken-ness you feel because often individuals do feel broken after they have fought so hard. If you are reading this and feeling any sliver of hope, then you have been fighting for your identity and THAT’S AMAZING! That an anchor of hope to hold onto! It may not seem like that now, but in time you will realize how precious a commodity this was.
The abuse has to stop so that individuals in the human race can feel good about who they are, and not feel like the very nature of who they are is wrong. This is the heart of what has to change so that tragic shootings DO not happen anymore! This needs to change or hate crimes will continue to scourge our societies!
The way to fix this in NOT changing the abusers but to empower the victims of the abuse to realize – “You are important – you are worthy – and you are loved!” When victims can realize this, it invokes a force greater than gale winds for them to move forward in perpetuating change.
It Won’t Change Overnight, But It Will Change…
I can not in this one post alone teach you how to repair and fix the damage that has been done to you, but I can promise that I will continue to make videos and write content that will help support all those out there. At one time one time I experienced feeling utterly alone and hopeless – that my life didn’t matter.
I feel driven to help people who are in the same situation I once was in. Why, you may ask?
The answer is simple. I mourn the loss of time that people and organizations stole from me. I still feel incredibly angry about that time stolen. If I live to be a healthy ripe age – half my life is already gone. Wasted on people, and causes, that didn’t matter.
Not only did they not matter, but they did severe damage to my psyche and my identity. I spent a good ten years fixing myself before I could even come to a place of feeling like I could help anyone.
If I can help change the world through the pain that I went through – worth it – and my time was not wasted on people that didn’t matter. If you agree with this and know someone who could use this message in their lives – please share this article or this video.