Jun. 10—The mass shootings occurring across the country bring many issues to light, especially school shootings in which innocent children lose their lives without provocation or reason. The Texas school massacre strikes an emotional cord — an 18-year-old enters a school and kills young children and staff members, and the "reason" given is that he was "bullied."
There are so many "wrongs" in this picture — and are issues that need immediate attention on the local, state and national front.
The first is the purchase of an assault rifle by an 18-year-old. If you are considered too young to purchase alcohol and tobacco products until you are 21, why should you be permitted to purchase a firearm? And an assault rifle at that. While the American Constitution allows for the private citizen to have firearms, it remains unclear as to what type of weapons should be allowed in the hands of the average citizen. Having a rifle, shotgun or pistol for means of protecting your home and family should definitely be permitted. Having that weapon registered to the owner is equally important, for many reasons. I firmly support the right to bear arms, but our Congress needs to implement legislation to control the purchase and ownership of assault weapons — and immediately.
The next concern is school safety. Our state and local school officials acted immediately to ensure that our students and staff are as safe as is earthly possible, even though that action was initially met with protestors insisting on metal detectors and other means at every school. Although their demands were not met, our schools underwent immediate renovation with the focus on keeping our children safe — with locked entry vestibules, locked doors in classrooms and entry points, covered windows and highly trained law enforcement personnel in every school in this county. We are truly blessed by these safety measures by our school administrators.
Mental health is another issue. Having worked in a mental health facility and in privately operated group homes for mentally handicapped, sexually abused and mentally ill teens, I am well aware of the need for treatment of depression and other issues that affect the daily lives of millions of people.
Nearly every person has at some time in their life been subjected to ridicule, embarrassment, depression and the other challenges of this thing we call Life. My personal adage — or "Nita-ism" — is "It's not the cards that Life deals you that matters. It's how you deal with the cards."
I've had few winning hands and countless "dud" cards in Life, but it all comes down to how I have dealt with situations that defines who I am and what course my life has taken from those decisions. I pay for the bad decisions of my past each and every day, but am motivated by hope and faith for the good actions I convey.
Today's society, however, seemingly justifies bad actions with excuses. There are no consequences for bad behavior — instead we attribute it to "childhood trauma" or "bullying" or a bad home life. There is no blame, just excuses. Some of us bounce back from the daily trials we face better than others, but no one has had a perfect life.
We should never downplay the seriousness of mental illness, but taking responsibility for your own actions and having consequences is as vital to personal development as proper nutrition, housing, education and security. We as a society have shunned discipline and morals, instead evolving into a society of self justification without thought of the long term effects for ourselves or others.
There are simple truths that should be re-instituted into today's society that should focus on respect, self control and retribution for bad behavior. It is time to stop making excuses and teach consequences. Until we do, we cannot expect a different outcome than the chaos that we are seeing on a daily basis.
Nita Johnson is a staff writer at The Sentinel-Echo. She can be contacted at email@example.com.