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Where I Stand

Before I get too far, let me just throw it out there that I fully believe..

This is a gun issue

This is a bullying issue

AND this is a mental health issue.

To deny any one of those is disrespectful to those that have lost their loved ones, in my opinion.

The gun issue...

I don’t know what the right answer is and I really wish I did. I wish I knew that arming teachers was the right option or that more thorough background checks would keep guns out of the wrong hands, but I don’t. What I know is that both “sides” have one goal.. To protect their kids.

I don’t think that either option is trying to undermine the other either.

I don’t disagree that arming teachers could provide an additional layer of defense. I do, however, worry about kids now not having to get a gun or other weapon past a metal detector and instead they just have to find a way to get the weapon off the teacher. I worry about the teacher maybe not being in the best mental state too. You don’t have to be a teen or young adult to struggle with mental health. I also worry that teachers will not be given the proper amount of training to respond the way they’d be expected to.

My older brother is a high school teacher and is a vet. I 100 percent would trust him with a gun in the classroom. I have other friends that are teachers that I don’t feel as comfortable putting in that situation. Not that I don’t trust them but it’s different when you know someone has been properly trained than when they’re not or just casually go shooting or hunt.

Many of my friends own guns. I trust them with their guns and I wouldn’t want to take that right away from them for a second. However, I also know that they’d pass any background check you threw at them. So for me, I have no problem supporting better background checks. I’m sure it would be a little inconvenient for them but they’ll pass and move on with their days.

My concern with raising the age stems from this..if you can be asked to use a gun to defend the country, you should be able to purchase one of your own. Better background checks would cover both of these scenarios if there were an issue.

I’m not going to tell you what kind of guns you should and shouldn’t have. I can say I don’t think you have a need for this type or that but any gun can kill someone.. So I’ll stick to pulling for better background checks.

That being said..the recent announcements of Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart choosing to raise the age to purchase a gun and not sell assault-style guns.. It’s action. I can understand where people are upset but it’s action. It’s something being done in an effort to stop another mass shooting. If what happened didn’t move you to the point where you agree something needs to be done, then I don’t know that you really understand what happened. You can not like the decision these companies made, but take the time to understand where they are coming from. I think it’s coming from a good place and I’d rather see action than nothing. You won’t please everyone, especially in this debate.

The bullying issue...

Bullies are a problem. Bullying is a problem. No, it’s not as simple as telling kids to toughen up.

Some kids get lucky. Sometimes they’re able to develop a thick skin on their own. Sometimes someone sticks up for them and they find an ally. Sometimes we’re too late to help and it gets to the point where they want to hurt themselves or others.

It’s important that authority figures work with kids to encourage the “golden rule”. I saw an article from 2014 circling around the other day on Facebook that highlighted a teacher taking a unique stand against bullying. She gave her students an index card and they wrote down four people they wanted to sit next to the following week and also nominated one exceptional student. She used this information to identify who was being intentionally left out or bullied. I have a hard time believing that her extra effort didn’t positively impact some child.

It’s hard to get some kids to understand that bullying isn’t okay. That there’s a point where things go too far. We have to continue adapting our approaches and working on this. It will be a never-ending fight.

Social media doesn’t help the bullying. People will take any insecurity, exploit it and run with it as far as they can. Not everyone is able to just ignore it. To a point, I think we all care a little about what other people think of us even if we say we don’t. There are a lot of people that say it’s just the “pussification of America”. That no one can stand up for themselves or take a joke anymore. We didn’t grow up in the same world these kids are growing up in. By the time social media really became popular and what it is today, we had already “grown” up for the most part. We escaped a lot of problems these kids have to face.

The mental health issue…

Mental health needs to remain a hot topic of conversation in this country. It is being talked about more and more but we need to make sure it continues and some actions come out of the conversations.

One of the big pushes I’ve noticed in the last few years is pushing to end the stigma on medication for mental health. There used to be this idea that if you took medicine for something you were going through that you were less of a person than someone who didn’t. This idea that you were crazy if you took medicine or were past “normal” help. I think this is starting to become a bit more normalized. There is definitely still some work to do but I think people are becoming more accepting of it.

Therapy is also being talked about more openly. It’s no longer just for people with “really big” issues. People are understanding that it’s healthy to go to therapy and talk with someone... No matter how big or small the issue may be. Our minds are complicated and life is complicated. Needing help to figure ourselves out along the way is completely normal and much healthier than spinning the wheels in our own heads and getting nowhere.

So there you have it. This is where I stand.

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