Updated: Feb 28
On Chinese New Year, a 67-year-old man walked into a dance hall in Monterey Park, California and shot and killed eleven people. Several others were wounded and when the man left, he went to Alhambra to commit another shooting but was disarmed by citizens. He then fled the scene and later committed suicide. This man clearly had mental and psychiatric problems. One time, he went to the police department and told them his family was trying to poison him. The police asked him to provide proof of it, but he never came back. He was a difficult person to get along with, his ex-wife divorced him because he kept interfering with her life, and finally, he took his gun, walked into that dance hall, and shot and killed all those people. There was another shooting a couple of days later near San Francisco. A disgruntled, ex-employee who got fired walked into two agricultural establishments and shot and killed multiple people.
In January, there were more mass shootings than days of the month. How can we hope to have inclusion, diversity, and equity when we are living in a society in which mass murder is the order of the day? How can we hope to have inclusion in our schools when teachers have to live in fear that their own students might shoot them? I’m sure you heard about the 6-year-old kid who shot his teacher in that elementary school in Virginia. There had been warning after warning made about him. Many people complained about him to administration, he was out of control, violent, choked people, beat them up, and carried weapons. Administrators stuck their heads in the sand and refused to do anything about it and one day, he walked into the school and shot his teacher, who thankfully survived. She was a real hero. Even though she was wounded with a bullet in her hand and through her chest, she still managed to get her students out of the room before anyone else got shot. We all want inclusion and diversity in schools. Our schools are much stronger when we have those things, but we can’t have that when kids are walking into schools carrying guns and shooting teachers. What teacher is going to go for inclusion and diversity if that’s the case? What good is inclusion and diversity if we can’t protect our teachers at the same time? These are questions we seriously need to ask ourselves. What’s going to happen if this kind of violence continues? I don’t see how we can hope to have inclusion in that kind of environment. People may want an inclusive society, but they’re going to demand it be a safe, inclusive society. I firmly believe only a compassionate society can survive long enough to have inclusion and diversity, to have justice for all. If we don’t have a compassionate society first, we won’t live long enough to have good things.
What can we do about this? First of all, people have to start taking violence seriously. Administrators all too often don’t do this. They hear a student is acting up and that teachers are afraid, but they don’t do anything because they’re afraid it’ll make them look bad. Of course, they’re going to look a lot worse when a shooting happens and they get held blame. The teacher who got shot is suing her school’s administration staff. They are in big trouble and are going to pay for sticking their heads in the sand. We have to take violence seriously. As I’ve said in my earlier blogs, there are two schools of thought regarding this problem; one concentrates on guns and the other concentrates on people. Both are valid, but neither is a complete solution. We have to take the best of both and put them together. Banning assault weapons is important, but that by itself isn’t going to stop this. Bringing the paddle and prayer back to the schools isn’t a way to solve any problems. You can’t teach social and emotional skills at paddle point. The society of 2023 is very different from the society of 1973 where paddling was still committed. Back when I was in school, people may not have liked paddling, but they respected it; they felt administrators and teachers had a right to paddle them if they did something wrong. That’s not the case in 2023. People aren’t going to respect that now. We have to find a better way to help our schools because you can’t teach social skills at paddle point. I think we need a multi-layered defense system. We need public health announcements and broadcasts telling people that violence isn’t going to work. We need to have hotlines that people can call if they are feeling violent. We need to get parents much more involved in schools. I personally think that if school administrators are sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring problems, every parent should withdraw their child from that school until further notice. If parents took their children out of schools, administrators would have to act and do something. If school administrators aren’t paying attention to what’s going on and if they refuse to stand by their teachers, those teachers should walk out and stay out until the administrators agree to take things seriously and start doing something.
I’m all for inclusion and diversity, but inclusion doesn’t mean letting children bring guns to school. We need public service announcements, parental involvement in schools, and networks of clinics to teach emotionally disadvantaged people social skills. We need to get the word out that there’s help available and that there are ways to teach people the skills they need. Back in the 1950’s and 60’s, you didn’t need emotional skills quite so much; you could get a job in a factory and live a pretty good life. Working on an assembly line didn’t demand many emotional skills, but those jobs are gone today. Nowadays, virtually everything requires a high degree of social and emotional skill. If you don’t have it, you’re out of luck.
We need to declare mass shootings a national emergency and we need to get it under control because society isn’t going to survive much longer if mass murder continues to happen every day. We need a nationwide conference of people to start working on things to reduce the violence in our society because if we don’t, one day we’re going to wake up and find out we don’t have inclusion, diversity, or rights. A democracy that can’t protect it citizens is no democracy at all. It is not a viable society and it isn’t going to last. We need to be proactive and take the offensive. Assault weapons need to be banned and people need to be helped. We need to stop this violence. The only thing hate will accomplish is a global cemetery for the human race.