A Terrible Recipe

He was crazy… That is the reasoning many will give for the horrible actions of the UCC shooter.  As I have learned, the use of the word ‘crazy’ when describing the mentally ill is akin to using the ‘n-word’ for people of color.  To me it means someone who is not thinking clearly.  As in… You can’t argue with ‘crazy’, you can’t win against ‘crazy’ or you can’t reason with ‘crazy’… I am not really talking about people with mental illness… Not people battling depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety or mania… I am talking about people who have lost touch with reality and who cannot really gasp the gravity of their actions.

I think that people need to feel that someone who commits such acts are out of touch with reality and not thinking clearly.  Somehow ‘crazy’ is an excuse we can live with because no sane person would commit such a hainous crime.  It also makes it easier to think about keeping guns out of their hands and making regulations to protect society…. But ‘crazy’ really isn’t the problem…. The problem is hate. The problem is bigotry.  It is not caring.  And the  problem belongs to all of us…. It is ours.

Perhaps the shooter was on the spectrum, certainly he was obsessed with guns, he was isolated, angry, and wanted fame.  Reading about the subculture of bigotry, hate, and violence on the internet fueled his fire and contributed to him following that path.  Many will say that if we had God in our schools this wouldn’t have happened… But some of the worst crimes in history have been done in the name  of God.  Maybe we need to look within… Could the problem be parenting? Now, I am not suggesting that the parents of all people who commit crimes are to blame but as a first grade teacher I know that parenting has a huge impact on the moral compass of children… Because that is the where we learn to connect, to care, to value certain things, to respect others and ourselves… We learn empathy from our parents and that is what these shooters didn’t have…

We have to look at our society as a whole… WE are raising these children, all of us and WE need to do something about this growing crisis.  Hate and fear are a driving force – we see it in politics, in religion, in bigotry, and in the schoolyard… I spend my days teaching 6 year olds how to respect and care about people who have different ideas… It interrupts the academic requirements of the state… But what I teach in Room One, I hope, sends children out into the world who are respectful and caring … I am trying to make a difference… Because it is no longer about ‘crazy’. It is about us…

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