I am a gun owner. I am not ok with what is happening in America. Something has to give.
This month my 7 year old son came home terrified about getting shot at school because he had just gone through an “active shooter drill” in his classroom. I didn’t know what to say, comparing it to the useless earthquake drills of my childhood seemed pointless considering that this year (2018) has already seen 8 shootings.
I couldn’t teach my class yesterday without weeping. Weeping for the mothers who must unexpectedly bury their murdered children. Weeping for my own inability to have a rational conversation about this with my husband. Weeping for a nation that is so polarized about guns that we can’t engage in any sort of rational change that will save our babies.
I am really proud of myself for not crying on my FB live video today! If you didn’t get to see it check it out! We cannot blame and mock others for their inaction, we must give them solid ideas to carry forward.
Yesterday I took it to my classroom. In 30 minutes 6 groups of social work students came up with rational policy proposals that won’t increase our taxes (the students believe that charging gun owners a yearly fee for ownership will cover most of these expenses) and might just save a kiddos life.
Here are the top 10 things we can do right now to engage in intentional gun reform:
- More mental health support for students.
- All students, no matter what, should meet regularly with the counselor who can help them with social and academic issues.
- Teachers will be encouraged to notify the counselor if the student has been having a hard time or is acting strangely.
- School shooters usually seem to have shown warning signs ahead of time, so this will be a good way for them to get the support they need.
- The NRA says guns don’t kill people, people do, so they should be in full support of helping kids get mental health support so that they can be more responsible with guns and not use them for violence.
- Focus on how school social workers could help this problem by putting more social workers in our schools.
- Implementing curriculum starting at a young age that teaches kids how to manage feelings and essentially combat toxic masculinity (we also loved the mindfulness idea).
- Having social workers work with teachers to notice warning signs and respond appropriately.
- Kids should meet frequently with the school social worker or counselor and there should be one in every school.
Partnering with parents and students to educate them about toxic masculinity and what life is really like on the phone screens by implementing curriculum in public schools about anger, fear, and shame.
- Fees for the annual registration of guns to fund school social workers.
- Weapons and ammo limits that are tracked by scanning gun ownership licenses.
- Implement a national gun owner database.
- Mindfulness training in all schools.
- Mandatory mental health assessments for all gun owners.
- Repeal the ban on the CDC regarding data collection about guns and gun violence so that we can address this as a public safety and public health issue.
- Trojan Horse the NRA by increasing their membership with individuals who have more moderate and liberal views about gun reform to moderate the messaging.
We will not be able to save our children’s lives if we avoid difficult conversations about fear, anger, and shame in our boys and our men.
We will not be able to save our children’s lives if we are rigid in an all or nothing gun game.
We will continue to bury our babies if we do not stop this ourselves.
It’s Friday, fuck shit up y’all,
Dr. Melissa Bird