I remember being safe in public places. I can remember browsing carefree in a world where kids and guns and crowds were never synonymous with pulling a trigger or the mad rush to escape fire.
And as I grew I can remember feeling perfectly safe walking with no hand in mine and no eyes peering stern-like, pushing me into safety from fear that I might be in harms way. There were no calls from campuses, no shelter in place, no emergency alert messaging -text, Twitter or, Facebook. It was just simply old -fashioned trust in people that the “good” ones were more prevalent than the “bad ones, and the bad ones only interrupted lives every now and then. Sadly enough, “every now and then” has been replaced with “again and again”. To say that death by fire arm is a new cultural norm that we all might as well get use to, is deeply troubling.
With recent events that took place today at a mall in Columbia Maryland, it causes all Americans to stop and consider what is really going on. Have we abandoned a civil society in exchange for rage, vendettas and uncommom causes like causing gun violence to become common.
It is not just the incident today that is troubling but the rapid escalation of violence in America with the events of the entire week. From shootings in South Carolina to Oklahoma, Purdue and Widener University.
Such tragedies in our nation over the last week leaves all of us more concerned about public safety issues than ever before. So what do we do? Do we lock our kids behind closed doors? Do we dare them to come out ever? Do they not get the right to explore the universe attending colleges and universities? Or do we keep them from learning and then earning wages that promote self sufficiency and boot strapping strategies with fear that they will be gunned down at a university or their workplaces. And what about us? Do we do the same for ourselves? Do we work and be mobile in a country in fear of our neighbor, our workplace, a casual passerby on the street or a day out for respite or amusement in a movie theater or dining at a cafe? And what if you can no longer disagree with another. Should there be concern that issues are no longer debatable because of the threat of immediate retribution? What’s going on? Is this not America?
It is as if the American “script” is no longer being read. I say, it’s time for us to be reminded of what we learned long ago. Robert Fulghum has captured timeless principles of a civil society that has become more of an imperative now than ever before. Here is some of what he wrote:
“These are the things I learned (in Kindergarten):
1. Share everything.
2. Play fair.
3. Don’t hit people.
4. Put things back where you found them.
5. CLEAN UP YOUR OWN MESS.
6. Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
7. Say you’re SORRY when you HURT somebody.
8. Wash your hands before you eat.
9. Live a balanced life – learn some … sing and dance and play and work everyday some.
10. Take a nap every afternoon.
11. When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.