We The People… must CHANGE.

   A little over a week ago the Parkland, FL school shooting happened.  17 teens and teachers lost their lives because of a 19 year old who couldn’t find his way. And, the result of what happened is he found another way, of violence, fear, and anger. I am deeply saddened by this event as is most of the U.S.  WE want to do something and on the flip side we’re not exactly sure WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW?  WE think about the students and can’t imagine what they were going through in those moments. WE place ourselves in the shoes of the parents of the victims and just want to collapse in grief. WHAT if?  WHAT if that was your child?  WHAT if that was your neighbor, friend, loved one? Well, it might as well be.  Because if WE can’t do something NOW to protect our kids then WHEN will they ever be protected.
     So, WHAT do we do?  A few buses of students and parents from Parkland went to Tallahasee and Washington D.C. to see WHAT changes could be made.  HAVE to be made. And that is a start.  They may not get anywhere this trip but they are putting it in motion. I understand. They feel like they need to do something, anything so that this senseless act does not happen again and again.
    Yes, WE know WE need change on a legislative level. But WHAT? WE can increase the minimum age to purchase guns. If the drinking age is 21, WHY the hell would anyone younger need access to a gun?   There is a video from 2014 in an episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, of a 13 year old who is not able to buy cigarettes, lotto tickets, alcohol, even a risqué magazine (and can’t drive or vote as well by the way) but goes into a gun show and is able to buy a .22 caliber rifle. WHAT the hell? WE can ban assault weapons. These weapons were made for killing people period. WHY the hell would any civilian need access to them? WE can ban bump stocks. SERIOUSLY!  WE can impose tighter background checks. WE can check for mental illness or instability. This speaks for itself. WE could place metal detectors at the schools… maybe. The world is changing. Maybe our schools need to change with it. Arming teachers is NOT the answer though. They have enough responsibility with our children (and should all get pay increases) but maybe an armed police officer should be on every campus while school is in session.   I certainly am not claiming to have the answers here. This is just ME venting my thoughts because I feel WE need to do something. WE as a UNITED country need to do something.
      Change is needed in so many areas not just in gun control and in our schools but also in finding those kids that are slipping through the cracks of life.  Those with mental illness or not.  Those who may not feel loved and nurtured. Those who are being bullied.  If you are a parent with children, ask yourself some questions…  Are my children loved?  Do I have open communication with my children?  Do any of them seem to be struggling in any area?  Do my children have friends?  Do I spend quality (not quantitative) time with my children?  Do my children seem happy?  When our children were born we took on a responsibility for them.  Not one that ends when they can feed themselves, or get themselves to school.  We took on a responsibility to see them through every step of their pre-adult life… the good and the bad, the ups and the downs, the happiness and the tears, to teach them the correct way to be respectable, loving, caring, educated citizens of this country until they themselves can be responsible adults in charge of their actions.  That means we don’t give up on them when it seems too hard.  We try to find solutions for each instance or fight for the changes needed to make better solutions.  Most importantly we need to make sure our children are being LOVED. WE need to make sure as people WE are giving LOVE. I know without a doubt that this is the one thing WE can do NOW to make a change and that is LOVE.  WE all need more LOVE.
The children are our future.  It’s time we treat them like they have a future.  And OUR UNITED Country has a future.
~Kim Benedettini

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