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I was in the Infusion Center where I volunteer a couple days a week when I saw the news about the bombing in Boston. I watched bits and pieces during my shift trying to keep a positive, happy demeanor for my patients. My self-appointed job is to make their treatment a positive experience…no matter what is going on outside those doors. But in the back of my mind I couldn’t help but feel affected by what was unfolding on television. What the Hell is going on with us? I mean we humans? When will we get it through our fat-heads that shooting, bombing, stabbing… is not the answer?
I can’t imagine how I would explain these events to my son if he were a child. I think the worst thing he saw was the explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle. I was at work and he was home alone and he probably watched the footage at least 20 times. All I remember is that he was really upset about it. What do parents tell their kids when they see atrocities these days? Or are kids numb to seeing these events because of violent video games and movies?
I took a break in the waiting room and thumbed through a magazine, while the sound of the news played in the background, I came across a page that read, ” We have failed our children if we do not teach peace.” The timing was almost an eerie coincidence.
Last night there was breaking news that the possible suspects were still in the Boston area. Even now as I write this, the update is that the bombers are brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev. One is dead and the other is still on the run. Before this news there was all kinds of theories floating around social media from Al Qaeda to home grown Jihadists to Alex Jones “false flag” conspiracy theory.
A relative of the suspects gave a quick plea to the media directed to Dzhokhar – to do the right thing and turn himself in to the police. He expressed his disbelief and anger toward the fugitive for shaming his family. I don’t think I ever heard that sentiment before…not publicly anyway. Relatives and friends always say how shocked they are and how that person was such a “nice, quiet” boy/girl. Well, people who do these acts are not hatched from an egg… they are influenced by their environment and right now our environment is all about who can hit the hardest. It’s all about swift justice. It doesn’t matter if its domestic or outside our shores.
Our lawmakers use the excuse that drones and carrying out pre-emptive strikes in other countries keep us safer in the U.S. But who will keep us safe from ourselves? We are teaching our children that the only way to end violence is to use violence. How crazy is that thinking? It’s like fighting cancer by injecting more cancer cells into the body.
Our collective body called the United States has cancer and it’s cancer of the mindset. We are raising another generation of violent human beings… I don’t mean intentionally. I seriously doubt a parent gets up in the morning intending to teach their kids to harm others, or at least, I hope not. They do so by not paying attention – by feeding their fear/phobias to their kids…like hating Gays, Blacks, Mexicans…fill in the blank. Parents are failing their kids by not supervising what they do on social media, who they spend time with, buying them violent video games, not talking with them about what they see on television, asking their opinion about bullying… and her’s a big one for me…rape.
Every time I turned on NPR this week I was more shocked than the day..no the hour before. A teenage girl committed suicide last fall because she was gang raped and the video and pictures of that rape circulated social media. She killed herself because she was humiliated by her peers. It was apparently funny to these kids. The boys involved did not get officially charged until last week — a good six months after the crime took place. Why is rape seen by these kids as “ok?” Is it because the boys charged are once again school football heroes? Or is it because some video games show rape as part of the game?
Who is raising our children? And what are we, as parents going to do about this behavior? We are their role models and it is up to us to teach our kids what is acceptable behavior and what is not.
I did find out more about an organization that has a satellite group in Los Angeles (hopefully someone will bring it to the OC) that focuses on peaceful conflict resolution called, Peace First. Ironically it started in Boston Massachusetts. It shouldn’t be (once again) the sole responsibilty of the schools to teach our kids. It is up to us – parents, teachers, clergy, neighbors — yes, it takes a village to turn this around because our lawmakers showed us this week, they have no intention of doing it for us. We have to decide there is a better way. We have to teach our kids to make better, peaceful choices before a fight breaks out, or a rape, or a bombing, otherwise we are all doomed.