OP-ED: The Truth No One Wants To Hear

OP-ED by Representative Victoria Sullivan

As a mom, I am infuriated by the conversations that keep distracting us from the facts. The conversations that keep pointing out toward some distraction, and that keep us from facing the cold, hard, truths.  The truth is that we are raising children that do not value life, and children that see violence as a solution. As a result, our children go to school and learn drills about hiding from a would be murderer as a part of their school day.

Wake up America!  This is not a “normal” that we should accept.  Asking Washington to do something while your child becomes more vulnerable is not a solution.  No new law will help to re-instate a moral conscience into those that are preying on the innocent. No sign that states, “no guns allowed,” will all of a sudden turn around the mind, and the heart, of a person on a quest to murder their peers.

I once asked for the security and lockdown information for my child’s school. I was told that I could not have that information as it would endanger other children. I asked how my knowledge of precautions the school district is taking to protect my child could endanger any child? The fact is it would not. Thinking that an adult is going to come in and do harm to our students is easier for us, as parents, and adults to accept than the fact that it will be another student. A  young person that attends school with our children, who is being taught these very lockdown, active shooter drills, will likely be the next school murderer. The reason that people are resistant to having armed guards at our schools is because that guard would, in likelihood, have to disarm, or kill, a child in order to save other children.  That is a very sobering, sad, and disturbing fact of our society.

Yet, the focus of the conversation is once again, anywhere, and everywhere but where it needs to be. The focus needs to be on our kids. What societal factors are contributing to the devaluation of human life? What protections are in place for the children that have become prey to the young people that are choosing them as their targets, as a way to completely destroy the communities where these killers were raised? These are the questions that require us to stop pointing outward at whatever distraction is “out there,” and turn around and look inward to our own schools, our own communities and our own families. That isn’t easy.

It isn’t easy to face the fact that the blame rests on all of our shoulders. It isn’t easy to face the fact that there is no quick fix to this. It is easier to make ourselves believe that restricting the availability of the instrument used in the latest attack, is somehow going to cure the ills of our society. Meanwhile, our society continues to fail mothers all across this country. The school shootings make the headlines because they are still “news.’ Yet the children being murdered at the hands of gang, and street violence every week in our cities, now go widely unreported, because it has become commonplace. Those children are simply forgotten. Understand that for a moment. Our children being murdered at the hands of other children is now a basic, and accepted truth of our society.

I implore every person reading this to please just stop. Stop making noise. Stop pointing outward. Stop ignoring the truths. Start looking into the eyes of your own child. Start taking control of who and what is influencing them in and out of your home, including social media. What examples are we, as parents setting? Are we just accepting of the violence all around us because it is societal? Compare our television shows growing up with what children are subjected to today. We spend more time looking at our phones than we do at the beautiful faces of our children.

We are facing an enormous task. We need to start being parents again, to our children, all the time. We need to start being better members of our community. That is where this begins and ends, with us. We need to start talking to our neighbors, our pastor, our friends, our schools about how to come back together as a community to solve these problems. We need to demand that steps, actual steps are being taken in our communities, not in Washington, not in Concord, but in our own districts to provide protection for our children. We need to stop looking for someone else to fix this. The someone is us.

Representative Victoria Sullivan
Assistant Majority Leader
House Education Committee
Hillsborough District 16