Community, Community Building, Community Development, Empowerement

It’s Not Just About School Shootings: The Broader Picture, and What We Can Do

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This week’s posts were written with the victims of school shootings in mind—from those who died to their families, including those who survived and will carry the trauma with them for a long time.

I started off the week with a list of immediately actionable things that each one of us can do.  I then gave the spotlight to my friend Adeeb who talked about love—because however cliché it is, at the end of the day, love is what will save us.  I discussed the necessity of taking into consideration the weakest members of the chain that is the human family, and touched on the importance of trying to find a third way.

Working on The Symptoms

I think we can all agree that things are not going as well as they could in the world today.  The world is ailing, and school shootings is one of the symptoms of the ailment that is affecting the world.

Working on the symptom is vital and very important.  I am encouraged to continue my own work when I see the amazing, inspiring work that others do on various “symptoms.”  There are so many of us doing so much—it’s only a matter of time that we will reach a tipping point.  We have already accomplished so much in the fact of some insane odds!

Why We Shouldn’t Forget the Larger Picture

As we each work on getting a particular symptom of an ailing society under control, it’s important that we don’t forget about the larger picture.  That is to say, we shouldn’t forget about the underlying illnesses that the world is struggling with.

When we forget about the larger picture, we may begin to operate in a vacuum.  We start thinking that the symptoms we are working on is the most important one, or even, the only one.  This narrow vision of what is going on can make us give the wrong “treatment.”  And while this treatment will help the symptom, it will only do so for a relatively short time, before another, even worse symptoms, comes along.  Similarly, when we treat one symptom while disregarding everything else, we can give a treatment that will make the other symptoms—if not, the illness itself—a lot worse.

For example, if we want to address cardiovascular health, we can choose to pour all our efforts into life-saving surgeries.  While these surgeries are vital, if we don’t also put effort into prevention—stress, nutrition, exercise—when we will see an increase in the number of surgeries—potentially more than the healthcare system can provide.  Similarly, by not addressing the causes of these cardiovascular problems in the first place, we are allowing for a host of other health issues to arise.

What The Larger Picture Looks Like

Guys, the larger picture is a little depressing to swallow as a whole, but first off, it’s necessary to keep it in mind, and second, remember that there is a lot going on to solve them all.

With that in mind, the larger picture includes misogyny and even misandry issues; racism and racial supremacy; homophobia, lesbophobia, biphobia, and transphobia; and a culture of fear, of competition, of glorification of the self, and of materialism.

Ultimately, everything comes to a lack of understanding of the true nature of humans.  And while the Band-Aid on consequences like gun control, mass incarceration, poverty, and other social issues are all needed, we have to go back to understanding the “patient” we are treating—that is, the human family—to be able to find and apply a treatment that will address the root causes.

Final Thoughts

Thank you to everyone who is working on resolving the various issues that plague us, as a human family.  Amongst the readers of this blog are some who are working on the following issues, and doing amazing things:

  • Maternal and paternal leave;
  • Parental support so that parents don’t have to work 2-3 jobs and can spend more time with their kids;
  • Quality education for low-income children;
  • Empowerment of preteens and teens;
  • Affordable or free healthcare to prevent bankruptcies because of illness;
  • Mass incarceration;
  • Cultural profiling;
  • Police shootings; and
  • School shootings.

We can learn a lot, in the work that we are doing to resolve each of these issues, that can and should be applied to, well, everything: mobilizing each individual to act; consulting; being fair-minded; looking at reality as a whole instead of in fragmented pieces; move from an “us versus them” attitude to an “us versus these issues” attitude that will encourage us to join hands and become even stronger than we already are.

While there definitely is a lot of work to do, everyone can contribute as of right now.  If we accept that we are all interconnected, then we accept, naturally, that all our actions have an effect on the whole.  If we clean up our little corner of the world, we can inspire others to do the same.

We don’t need one massive clean-up, guys; we need billions of little ones.  And I know that each one of us can do a lot more cleaning than we think we can.

How are you “cleaning-up” the world?

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5 thoughts on “It’s Not Just About School Shootings: The Broader Picture, and What We Can Do

  1. This topic is a very sensitive but I appreciate that you understand that the kid was also driven to the act out of frustration. Yes it is sad for the victims and their families, no doubt, but it was kind of you to take in the big picture.

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