The Problem with Guns, Pranks & Kids

Recently, the school district I work in experienced a social media crisis when kids posted pictures of themselves with the message — ‘Don’t come to school’ as we prepare to return to the classroom after the winer break. The problem is the students are holding what appear to be weapons — automatic rifles and revolvers — all of which have since been determined to be fakes and not real weaponry. The community is up in arms, and on social media parents are threatening to keep their kids home for the day rather than face the risk.

The local police department has issued a statement saying the students have been spoken to and the issue is resolved and there is no immediate threat to tomorrow’s school day. So I guess I will go to work as a teacher in my classroom, but I know I’ll look around and see a lot of empty desks.

There are a couple of directions I want to go with this commentary. The most important being the realization of how dangerous a precedent these students created with their ‘prank’ behavior. I don’t they realize the repercussions. I don’t think though, from reading the thread of reactions on social media that our society is ready to recognize the consequences of such a harmful act.

Guns scare people today, because their volatility, their immediate impact, their prevalence in schools is defined rather than speculated. The problem I have with these students making a joke of a serious issue is not as much themselves as it is the onlookers. Their joke could be someone else’s literal motivation to carry out a heinous act because it has been revealed and attention has been drawn to the idea.

I think the greatest fear of sensationalism is the action alone. Parents are reeling from this news, decidedly keeping their kids home. Some will eventually transfer schools. The community is frightened by the reality of this incident and this needs to become a teaching moment for our kids.

We cannot simply let it ride as a harmless prank. We must set a tone, and students need to know the seriousness of such an action. The students involved need to be charged with a terrorist act because they created an idea, a dangerous one, that might leave someone else intrigued enough to carry out what they thought was a joke.

We live in a suicidal society as it is. We cannot continue to give our students reasons to make poor and life-changing decisions that will impact their world for the rest of their lives.Our kids are being groomed within a throwaway society that is so impactful they have no idea the consequence that lays before them.

Gun-toting activists need to step it up and recognize this is dangerous behavior and not an over-reaction. Keep in mind, the gun could be your own.

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When Once We Stood Together

Today I remember then,

only when

I cannot quite comprehend.

I know it was with intrigue

I wondered about time,

was this perhaps the proper sign.

I would look to wonder

each new design

a telling of a simple future.

Seems we all have a memory

whereby we might all recall

sweet passion was most kind.

We walked together as one,

hoping for the same,

a recognition of love.

Seemed rather simple at the time,

we all wanted it,

we all shouted the words.

 

Freedom seemed attractive,

easily attainable,

put a smile on all of our –

insecurities stepped in the way,

began to sway

the intelligent soul

toward shutting their door

no one allowed inside

any more, none anymore

we cannot help put pity

upon those we left behind.

 

Words are different now,

they speak quickly,

loud,

their tone misunderstood

or simply not concerned.

Sharply stated.

Rude consequences,

never really apply.

Today

instead of a polite retort,

we rather quickly

use a firearm …

the natural way they say

if a conceal and carry

is the way to go.

 

When once we stood together,

now we elude society

steady in the drum,

the lasting hypocrisy.

 

 

To Write a Wrong

Clever we are given allowance with our word

an opportunity to state simply the absurd.

~

Yet today with vast swift lines of hyper-space

so often our word becomes a shadowed face.

~

We slap one another gladly with the aim of syntax

always apparent, forever feeling no hidden tax

~

Unlike some childhood when words might disappear

into a soft moonlight, a rising sun, in arms we endear.

~

Forgiveness would always over-ride distant memory

again, without words, just eyes, love might agree

~

to overlook, to ask for another opportunity, per chance;

a disagreement settled while communications enhance

~

the true meaning of our interactions, our human condition

rather than the insidious nature of calling into question

~

any single individual with actions or motives to aptly slay

the dragon of inner turmoil so easily spewed today.

~

Indeed, so easily are we drawn to the nature of the easy,

a sentence here, quick phrase, an ‘fml,’ leaves one queazy.

~

We can try in honesty speaks (right) our world with common sense to release …

The ills, the fears, the fiber optic feeding frenzy hallows our peace.

~

Artist: Dani Stites

When We Last Spoke

bullying

That incident in the hallway,

seemed a thing of the past,

I thought we were moving forward,

didn’t think their strength would last.

When we last spoke,

you smiled and said good-bye,

the same way you had

since we met in second grade.

~

High school coming to an end,

the next chapter,

so many lives,

so few recall the memories,

that others have endured.

Yet we go forward

with our day as we always have.

Perhaps a sandwich,

maybe I’ll go for a run,

the summer is ahead,

and college, my God,

this is where I am today.

~

I remember the very day,

they’d been waiting all morning,

he slipped by without notice,

figured today he’d be alright,

but it was after school,

when he walked out to his car,

they’d spray-painted his name,

inside a circle of rejection,

They’d all gone to the dance,

forgot about him that night,

figured he was at home,

doing whatever they hadn’t

any idea what he did,

what did he do,

they wondered now,

standing in formation,

the entire student body,

today’s speaker brought tears.

~

We cannot forget each other,

in the present or later on,

we might think that today

is easily forgotten,

but for some, it remains,

forever really.

That’s the fascination

that becomes our terror.

We must smile a real hello,

we have to become the strength,

to carry their bags,

when the weight becomes too much.

~

We have to keep speaking,

certainly continue asking.

We must believe,

we are all in this together,

then maybe,

another day,

they might,

want to understand.

Life Today – A Sonnet

When long in mind I rather call your name

please tell me then you knew me well ahead.

Today I might recognize well the game

that fortune of hindsight you kept instead.

If when I speak the world is newer heard,

than as a child when words remained in sand

is it well today we scrutinize word?

Speak love with our hearts that we cannot stand.

When as a child I spoke alone, my fears.

Social imagery’s designed neighborhood

Is life’s circuitry; media drives tears …

Acceptance slows again that which I could.

We this planet of known impacts and eyes

Need well to live the wisdom in our I’s.

Read My Words

social media

Please, let’s not forget

we used to do this all the time

We’d speak and listen

look into each other’s eyes.

Recognize inflections,

by the tension in your shoulders,

the manner by which your hands relax;

Listen to my words,

and help me let go of the constraints,

social media,

perhaps the devil’s playground.

Know that what I really feel

cannot be interpreted in text,

yet, if you think about what is real

then the next time you’ll better deal

with the reality of who we are,

that intelligent human being thing.

We can still cry –

avatars try with great compassion,

especially the ones that move.

In the meantime,

let’s not forget

our words are what we truly believe.

Read my words.

Selfie!

photo

I am compelled

To follow trends

That in today’s well,

Life of pretend

Reality quite often we record

With a smartphone snap

A thousand masks

Each one driving home

A current identity

That speaks to our need

Our quest

Our validation

~

Remember polaroids

We had to wait with anticipation

To see our reality

If we weren’t satisfied

We went through a cellophane packet

Of fifteen until the right face

Appeared

The current mask of satisfaction

That one expression

That told a story we were ready

To share, record, secure

A face for posterity

~

Today’s moments

Are brought to you by impulse

By quick shots

Recording our instincts

In seconds flat

We delete and try again

We share and hope to bend

The arc of our sanity

Towards a positive energy

A surreal tendency

To throw all our ducks

In a shallow pond

Hoping their webbed feet can

Maintain the fast currents

Of our social media river of deceit!