There have been an outpour of reactions to the Parkland School Shooting that recently occurred in Florida, leaving 17 people dead.
Many students, friends and family members of the deceased, and people who are generally horrified that assault rifles, like AR-15s that are oftentimes used in these attacks, are so easily purchased in many parts of the country, are clamoring for gun control.
One Florida teacher believes that the issue goes deeper than that, however.
To Kelly Guthrie Riley, it's about America's obsession with violence, and how often horrible things are relished in and dwelled on in news, media, and culture.
Okay, I’ll be the bad guy and say what no one else is brave enough to say, but wants to say. I’ll take all the criticism and attacks from everyone because you know what? I’m a TEACHER. I live this life daily. And I wouldn’t do anything else! But I also know daily I could end up in an active shooter situation.
Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I’ll say it-violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others’ lives, as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each others’ faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school. Our kids don’t understand the permanency of death anymore!!!
Raley pointed out that in her 20 years of being a teacher, she's noticed a drastic change in the behavior of students over the years: for the worse.
I grew up with guns. Everyone knows that. But you know what? My parents NEVER supported any bad behavior from me. I was terrified of doing something bad at school, as I would have not had a life until I corrected the problem and straightened my ass out. My parents invaded my life. They knew where I was ALL the time. They made me have a curfew. They made me wake them up when I got home. They made me respect their rules. They had full control of their house, and at any time could and would go through every inch of my bedroom, backpack, pockets, anything! Parents: it’s time to STEP UP! Be the parent that actually gives a crap! Be the annoying mom that pries and knows what your kid is doing. STOP being their friend. They have enough “friends” at school. Be their parent. Being the “cool mom” means not a damn thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME. I’ll say it again. My home was filled with guns growing up. For God’s sake, my daddy was an 82nd Airborne Ranger who lost half his face serving our country. But you know what? I never dreamed of shooting anyone with his guns. I never dreamed of taking one! I was taught respect for human life, compassion, rules, common decency, and most of all, I was taught that until I moved out, my life and bedroom wasn’t mine...it was theirs. And they were going to know what was happening because they loved me and wanted the best for me.
She believes that a greater cultural responsibility falls on the shoulders of parents; that families need to play a more active, guiding role in their children's lives and not be afraid to enforce rules and guide their behaviors.
There. Say that I’m a horrible person. I didn’t bring up gun control, and I will refuse to debate it with anyone. This post wasn’t about gun control. This was me, loving the crap out of people and wanting the best for them. This was about my school babies and knowing that God created each one for greatness, and just wanting them to reach their futures. It’s about 20 years ago this year I started my teaching career. Violence was not this bad 20 years ago. Lack of compassion wasn’t this bad 20 years ago. And God knows 20 years ago that I wasn’t afraid daily to call a parent because I KNEW that 9 out of 10 would cuss me out, tell me to go to Hell, call the news on me, call the school board on me, or post all over FaceBook about me because I called to let them know what their child chose to do at school...because they are a NORMAL kid!!!!!
Those 17 lives mattered. When are we going to take our own responsibility seriously?
Kelly's post has been shared over 700,000 times on Facebook and has racked up over 831,000 reactions. For the most part, people are applauding her message.
Even if some people weren't buying her video games argument.
While others think that she's ignoring gun control completely.
Although Guthrie believes there are more important matters to discuss in the wake of the shooting over gun control, not everyone agrees with her.
One Facebook user, proud gun owner and 2nd Amendment supporter, Scott-Dani Pappalardo, destroyed his 30-year-old AR-15 rifle on Facebook live to send a powerful message about gun control in the wake of the Florida shooting.
Pappalardo, despite have the 2nd amendment tattooed on his arm, says that although he loves shooting his AR-15, his right to own one isn't more important than a human life, and makes a bold statement by choosing to destroy the firearm he's owned for so long on camera.
A move that garnered a tremendous amount of respect from people.
It's naive to think that any single solution will help to curb the number of mass shootings in the United States, but sincerely acting on the messages of impassioned people like Guthrie and Pappalardo are bound to get us somewhere.