*For resources in how to help the victims of the Uvalde shooting, please see bottom of article.
Tragedy In Uvalde
Here we are again: square one. Starting all over again, spilled in blood, shocked, traumatized, sad, angry, in fear, still trying to digest another shooting.
We know the drill: looking at statistics, the news, social media, and talking to friends, neighbors, or parents. This time it was the turn of 19 kids and 2 schoolteachers at Uvalde School in Texas that were murdered. I cannot think of anyone on this country, or even this planet, that wouldn’t feel the same way about this horrible incident. But maybe some people are numb already. Are some so accustomed to these stories that they don’t feel anything anymore?
Perhaps it was the case of that kid who was dealing with mental health issues and thought it would be cool to shoot those kids with his brand new two legally purchased AR-15 style rifles.
Most of you will agree with me until the final sentence. However, when I mention the guns, some of you will immediately feel a sense of “uh-oh wait, this is something about the right to bear arms, and I don’t like it – I know where this is going.” Understandably, this is a natural reaction of the mind because it goes against our set of beliefs. And because those sets of beliefs are ours, nobody will change the way we think. Life goes on and you believe in whatever you want and love with that, and so do I.
This shooting wasn’t the first and definitely won’t be the last. As we prepare for week after week, there will be other things to talk about and without our consent, life goes on. We grieve the lives lost and the problem seems not to be solved anywhere near in the future.
I want to cite one phrase that may come useful for these times:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” -George Santayana
We Are Different But Very Much The Same
These shootings, like the one in Uvalde, are the result of a cocktail of unfortunate situations mixed in our time. As the human mind operates, we tend to find the most available (easy) reason to blame as the culprit when something wrong happens. This availability is conditioned upon our set of beliefs. For example, if we firmly believe that smoking marijuana is harmful to us, seeing someone smoking marijuana makes him a bad person in our view. But the person who thinks that it is fine may believe that the guy is just fine smoking it. Who is right? To be right or wrong is subjective, and it will depend on the person .
For centuries humanity has developed science to understand better our world and ourselves based on facts. Science depends on scientific research to test if something reacts or behaves the way we think or not. It helps to support a better comprehension of situations objectively (it is not about belief, but about facts). In the example of marijuana, science has proven that the effects of using it bring benefits to our health. It was perceived as bad in the past, but not anymore because of the validity of that assertion (using marijuana can benefit our health) found in thousands of scientific papers.
There are things that we strongly believe, and we instinctively do not want to change. Because we identify ourselves with our set of beliefs, giving us the illusion that we are defined by what we think. But for those who are still reading this, I can guarantee you that we are not.
We are way more than that, in ways that we never thought about and maybe we will never understand in our lifetime. We share the same air that we breathe, the water we drink. We share our land, our sea, and our customs. We laugh about the jokes that we hear or say, no matter who is in front of us, if it genuinely makes us laugh. We share our pride, constantly celebrating what we have now through the sacrifice of our ancestors to develop a better country. And as well, we get horrified witnessing the same event and feeling the same, sharing our grief.
The Divisiveness Of Politics
In a significant way, politics has put itself in the middle of this natural co-existence by creating an imaginary gap between us, making us believe that we are not the same. And it uses manipulation constantly to make sure we are “on the right side.” By being manipulated upon our sets of beliefs, we tend to follow the people whose ideas seem to be the “right ones”. And the moment we are “right” anyone else who doesn’t think like us is “wrong”.
I no longer take sides for any political party because they all have their agendas. They do not appeal for us to use our criteria or rationale; they demand that if we are true believers, we must behave in a certain way. Like good shepherds, they want followers to support their agenda. And behind is, of course, money and power. Not for you or me, but for them.
If we genuinely want to change these terrible events, we must be able to objectively review the causes and possible solutions to solve the problem for its roots. It sounds evident that instating shooting drills at school or putting the army outside of every school in the country will not change that. Those measures could help reduce the potential casualties but not solve the root problem.
I will throw some ideas of what the ingredients of this mortal societal cocktail could be for you to take an honest reflection of each one of us to see if we can do something to change it. But please try to use your criteria, not your set of beliefs (as weird as it sounds). Be honest because accepting a problem is the starting point for a solution. And we desperately need one by now.
The Ingredients Of These Tragedies
• Gun control
• Political division
• Media manipulation
• Poor parental guidance
• Social media pressure
• Moral values crisis
Let’s talk to each other. Let’s put our egos aside. For our country, for our kids. For once and for all. Let’s be the ones who make the change and do not expect others to do it for us.
How To Help In Uvalde
How You Can Help: Donate to Uvalde, Texas Elementary School Shooting Relief