There are *always* warning signs. If you choose not to see someone – or not to see what’s happening – it doesn’t mean the signs aren’t there. “There might be bullying.” “There might not be bullying.” “They put ‘the kid’ in a police car and took him away.” If you don’t even know a person’s name, how would you know if he is suffering? I absolutely hate that this violence keeps happening. I hate just as much the media coverage that follows. Everyone is a hero once they stop a crazy person. Where is the hero who recognized this kid was suffering and stopped the pain in the first place?
“He was shy and didn’t have many friends.” Guess what – so was I. *So AM I.* Please stop saying “shy” or “introverted” like it’s a sign of mental illness. It’s not. And if you took more time to get to know us, you’d see that.
“His parents are partly to blame.” FYI: boys don’t always share the shit they’re going through, especially if they are being demeaned and humiliated. Even if he did, they can’t be at school to stop the harsh things that happen. We say the phrase “Kids are cruel” like it’s something we have to accept and get on with. How about teaching our children not to be cruel to begin with?
“Good thing he didn’t have a gun.” Yes – yay! And it’s actually kind of amazing. Especially in PA, where (from what I remember) we actually got the first day of hunting season off each year as a holiday. Unfortunately, guns clearly aren’t the only problem. *WE* are the problem. *WE* are the only ones who can fix it.
After the shooting at Sandy Hook, I was on Xanax for months. I could barely leave the house without having anxiety attacks, worrying someone was going to mow down my children. I would lie in bed at night crying because I literally couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t stop imagining what the children had gone through. How scary it must have been – and even worse, how some of them were so young, so innocent – they didn’t even know how scared they should have been. Then, I was heartbroken. Now – two years and however many shootings/killings/stabbings later – I’m angry.
This week I’ve been working in New York, interviewing kids at an international high school about their lives. I literally sit down with them one by one and probe them with personal questions. “What’s the hardest part about being here? What’s the best part? Is it hard to make friends? Is it fun? Does it suck?”
What I want to do right now, more than anything else, is to go to Franklin and sit down with every single student who goes there. I want to ask them. No bullshit. No lies. No cover-ups. Was he struggling? IS ANYONE ELSE STRUGGLING? Because if they are, we need to know now.