In recent months there seems to be a large number of crimes that involve gun violence. Throughout the country the news has been filled with the details that described what took place when these people made that terrible decision to take another’s life.  It’s hard to imagine how someone’s mind would come to the conclusion that it’s OK to kill. I understand that some of these individuals suffer from deep mental disorders. There are others that simply have a deep disregard for human life. There seems to be no thought that these victims are someone’s loved one. In some cases the families that are left behind will never been able to recover from their loss.  There will be nothing they can do that would bring their loved one back to life.

Those who are involved in these situations have never taken the time to think how their actions will affect their victims. They have never been made aware that the victim list is not limited to the person or persons that they forced their aggression on. It is not until after the fact that the criminal understands that the list includes members of his/her own family. These aggressors are so clouded with their own agendas that they fail to think about anything but themselves.

How can the aggressors’ family members explain to their friends and neighbors why their loved one decided to end someone’s life? Was it something that they could have stopped? Was there some sign present that they missed that would have let them know that something was wrong? How can they face the world? How can they face the victim’s families?

I can’t help but think how cowardly it is to shoot at a person who can’t shoot back. I think that if they really wanted to make a statement they should challenge someone who could challenge them back. I’m not encouraging private citizens to shoot at each other. That situation could really send us back in time to the untamed west.

Even in those days, according to the television shows, each shooter had a gun, the streets were cleared and only those two (idiots) were left to shoot at each other. The one with the fastest draw and the quicker trigger finger usually won.  Unlike in real life, on television there were no residual injuries. One shot the other and that was the end of it.

When I was a young man and I was in a disagreement with someone else, sometimes we would keep challenging each other. It would build up and build up until it would wind up in a fight. One of us would win and as a result we would have us become best friends. Neither one of us never thought that ending the other’s life would solve the problem. In most cases, after some time had passed, we either would not remember what we were fighting about or come to the realization that the reason we were fighting was very silly.

I was once called for jury duty. It was in criminal court and on this one case there must have been 100 of us picked so we could be vetted to be jury members who would decide the fate of a young man being tried for murder. As we stood in the hallway waiting for the judge to call us in, we watched in amazement as a few court officers escorted this young man into the court room. The thing that stood out in my mind was just how young he was (late teens or early twenties). The other thing that really bothered me was that he was shackled. He had handcuffs on each hand and they were attached to a belt. His ankles also were handcuffed. The chain between his ankles was so short that all he could was shuffle. When he arrived at the defense table the jewelry was removed but his escorts were standing right behind him.

When we entered the court room, we were separated into groups of 12 and the vetting process began. The prosecutor told us that the case involved a multiple murder. The young man before us was one of 4 to be tried. I was in the last group to be vetted and would you know that no one out of the 100 was chosen. We were instructed to return back to the jury pool room where we would wait to be called by another judge. As I left the court room I could not help but notice a man and a woman sitting in the back. They were the only ones in the room other than the jurors. They must have been his parents. As a positive parent with three boys of my own, I know that both of them were sick with grief about the situation their son had gotten himself into. I’m sure they thought about what they could have done differently while raising this child. Perhaps they did the best they could do. In the end that young man was responsible for the choices he made.

I wonder how different life would be for him if while he was in school there was a class that taught young people that they are responsible for their actions. Reading, writing and arithmetic have no value if we place no value on our neighbor’s life. This class would not be just an elective class. It would be a required class that had to be passed in order for the student to move on to the next grade.

Young people could start taking this class in grade school. I feel that the earlier we teach our kids about responsibility, the better. By the time they get to high school, they would be so inundated about being responsible and about caring for one another, committing any type of crimes would be far from their minds.

They would instead work harder to make their communities better places to live. In their generation no child would go hungry or without a place to live. They would set a great example for those who are younger, who in turn would set the example for those coming behind them. We would have a continuous process of positivity. The world would benefit from their actions and when they became parents they would never have to sit in the back of a court room worrying about the fate of their child.


Don’t forget to stop by the store and get that special dad a tee shirt.



This Post Has One Comment

  1. Rex Stewart

    Great article. Great summarization about parenting from a father’s perspective.

    I, too, am a dad and just recently my daughter was slapped by another girl in a classroom setting. I would think the school officials would have notified me of this incident, but they kept it ‘quiet’. It’s incidents such as this (small seed) that escalate into tragic settings which everyone lose -the victim and the aggressor.

    Children need to be taught properly and understand that we live in difficult times. More than ever, they need parental mentoring to “do the right thing” with their lives. But most, impotantly, to be trained to be givers for good and not givers for evil. And, this type of training crosses racial/cultural barriers…something America has lost sight of.

    I appreciate this article. It cuts to the chase of the matter and certainly warrants more study from all levels of social equality -if such truly exists.

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