Enough is Enough! Lack of Empathy, Love, and Tolerance: The Recent School Shooting Frenzy
What is going on with the world when we are averaging at least one school shooting a week?
How can minors who are not old enough to drink and drive, take the lives of innocent children and adolescents?
According to Priya Krishnakumar of the Los Angeles Times, “Since Sandy Hook, a gun has been fired on school grounds nearly once a week.”
Have we even begun to ask ourselves if we were walking in the shoes of those students who fell victim to these attacks, how we would feel? If we had our whole lives ahead of us, and then in a blink of an eye, one of our classmates decided, that was the last day we were going to live? What if it was one of our loved ones dying before our very eyes, how would we feel? Can we fathom empathizing with any one of these folks?
From Columbine in 1999 to Virginia Tech in 2007, to Sandy Hook in 2012, and the latest Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, of which 17 students fell victim to the horrible shooting rampage on February 14, 2018. How can we forget the deadly shooting rampage in Las Vegas last October, leaving 851 injured and 58 people dead? Looking back at Valentine’s Day 2018, a day which was supposed to be dedicated to love, empathy, and tolerance ended up as one of the deadliest school shooting attacks.
From these ashes, the young students are rising to lead us to redemption. During my recent trip to Washington D.C., the “March for Our Lives Protest” was the talk of the town. Fueled by student-driven momentum, survivors of the mass shootings, including the one at Marjory Stoneman in Florida brought about a massive crowd of demonstrators and student advocacy groups to protest gun control. Perhaps, this student demonstrators can lead us to a revolution; a world filled love, empathy, tolerance, and unity?
The world needs to wake up to what is important. It is not material things, but rather tolerance for other opinions and beliefs is the starting point for love and empathy. We must learn to open our hearts; to give love to receive love. Perhaps we should take into consideration the teachings of our great leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In his book “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?,” Dr. King warned us of the great “Triple Evils: Poverty, Racism, and Militarism,” as forms of violence that are interrelated and exist in a vicious cycle. These "evils" are evident in our society today and need to be addressed. The change starts with every individual.
In an attempt to initiate change towards love, empathy, tolerance, transformation, and justice, perhaps we can look at Dr. King’s “Six Principles of Nonviolence,” as described in his first book “Stride Toward Freedom.” These six principles emphasize nonviolence as a way of life for courageous people. Dr. King elaborates on the importance of “seeking to win friendship and understanding; to defeat justice not people; suffering can educate and transform; choosing love instead of hate; and the belief that the universe is on the side of justice.
We can start by teaching our kids the meaning of the word “empathy,” how to “love,” and how to be “tolerant” of one another despite our differences, beliefs, and up bringing’s. Instilling the fulfillment of random acts of kindness such as opening doors for someone, buying a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you; helping an elderly or disabled cross the street; making contact with humanity; sharing smiles, and saying good morning. We can start by leading by example. And soon the future of tomorrow will follow!!
CBS News (2017, October 1). Las vegas music festival shooting. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/las-vegas-mandalay-bay-shooting/
Krishnakumar, P. (2018, March 22). Since sandy hook, a gun has been fired on school ground nearly once a week. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved from: http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-na-school-shootings-since-newtown/
The King Center (2018). The king philosophy. Retrieved from: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy
The New York Times (2018, March 24). March of our lives highlights: Students protesting guns say enough is enough. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/24/us/march-for-our-lives.html
VOA News (2018, February 14). Deadliest school shootings in modern U.S. history. Retrieved from: https://www.voanews.com/a/deadliest-us-school-shootings/4255548.html