Is Nothing Sacred Anymore?
“Is nothing sacred anymore?” Those were the angry words of the mayor of Richmond, Virginia, when he heard about the shooting outside the graduation ceremony of Huguenot High School. A graduation ceremony had just ended and everyone was out in the street laughing and congratulating each other when a 19-year-old young man pulled out a gun and killed two people, an 18-year old boy who had just graduated and his stepfather. The young man who was murdered had been struggling in school but had help from his stepfather and mother to get his grades up so he could walk across the stage and get his diploma. A number of other people were injured at the scene trying to run back inside, including the 9-year-old daughter of the boy’s mother who was hit by a car but not critically. Think of what that poor woman had to go through. Her husband and her 18-year-old son murdered, and her 9-year-old daughter injured trying to flee. When the mayor of Richmond spoke out about this, he cried, “Is nothing sacred anymore? Not even a high school graduation?” What does this say about our county? We encourage children to go to school, get a high school diploma, and attend college. This kid was on that path. With the help of his parents, he got his grades up and graduated high school but twenty minutes later, he was killed. Apparently he and the boy who killed him had an ongoing dispute, which ended in gunshots. The 19-year-old was quickly taken into custody where he will presumably be facing murder chargers. How do we reverse this normalization of violence and the belief that if you’re having problems with somebody, it’s okay to pull out a gun and shoot them? We are reducing the value of human life to zero. Why should you even bother going to school if you’re going to get killed right after you graduate?
I think we need to make violence prevention a part of the school curriculum. We also need to make public service announcements around the clock telling people that violence is not the answer - if you have a dispute with somebody, go to a violence prevention specialist and work it out with them; don’t just get a gun and shoot people. Schools need to have courses on emotional intelligence that show students how to manage their emotions and use them wisely. For adults, we need to have clinics where they can learn how to acquire education skills, emotional intelligence skills, and violence prevention skills. If people continue seeing violence as a way to solve their disputes and problems, they’re going to shoot others dead and we’re not going to have much of a country. I don’t see how our democracy can survive if we don’t start doing things to stop this. I do believe in gun control and think there should be limits on guns, especially assault weapons, but that alone isn’t going to solve anything. Gun control is not the be all end all. We have to get the message across that violence is not the answer. Too many people think it is and don’t care for their own lives or the lives of others.
How can we hope to have a good future? We cannot continue living in a country where mass shootings are an everyday occurrence. How much longer is democracy going to survive when people believe that it’s legitimate to use violence to settle disputes? My greatest concern is that the people who are trying to do something about it are focused too much on just gun control rather than being focused on the rest of it. We need to educate our population so that if two people get into an argument, they don’t take out guns and start shooting each other. These are the things that are more important than guns because they are the reasons why guns are used. Is nothing sacred anymore? How long can we survive if nothing is sacred?