The Right to Bear Alms

>Just when you think it can’t get much stranger, or more worrisome, come two fathers from Boston who have designed, and are marketing, bulletproof backpack/book bags for school age children.  It seems these two men have been worried about the safety of their children since the Columbine killings and have now done something about it.
    We are living in a society where it’s necessary to try and bulletproof our children’s’ book bags? Well, maybe the answer is “yes” by all appearances. But aren’t there bigger issues here?
    I have never been very active or vocal around the whole gun control issue…mainly because I feel one way but see the other side’s point of view. So, I’ve basically taken the “live and let live” (no pun intended) approach. I abhor the general populace being armed. I am certainly not an advocate for owning any type of gun. But the other side makes the point that if you make gun ownership illegal then only those intending to do harm will have them and, well, I see their point. But surely making it so easy to own one has to be part of the problem.
    Then there is the whole violence in the media contribution to the present state of things. Endless studies have shown that repeated exposure to violence not only desensitizes a viewer’s feelings around violence, it also actually promotes violence.
    So, anyone can own a gun and we are daily inundated with violence in the media. Sounds like two ingredients in a recipe for disaster.
    I understand those Bostonian fathers’ concerns and their wanting to do something to increase the chances that their children (and others) will survive exposure to a violent episode. But to me, it’s like putting a band aid on a hemorrhage the size of a grapefruit.
    We, as responsible members of our society, have to step-up and demand radical changes around the way we live our own lives and what we will tolerate from others.  Each of us has to limit our own family’s exposure to media violence in its many forms…from the internet to TV to newspapers to magazines. Each of us has to make our voices and our pocketbooks heard by the purveyors of such violence that it’s no longer acceptable.
    Most importantly, turn down the potential for violence in your own life. Alter your lifestyle to decrease stress. Runaway stress is a breeding ground for anger which is a breeding ground for escalated anger which, unchecked, turns into violence. Do not tolerate domestic violence, verbal, emotional or physical in your own life and do not ignore it when you see it occurring in the lives of people you know and care about.
    We are in need of creating a bulletproof society where respect, compassion and civility replace selfishness, greed and impatience. Where adequate food, education and the possibility for advancement is available to all in equal measure.  Neither government edict nor bulletproof backpack can do this job. It’s called personal responsibility and it starts with me and it starts with you.
    We have a 14-year-old daughter who is starting high school in a few weeks. Soon we will go shopping for clothes and school supplies. I won’t be buying her a bulletproof anything. She delivers food to the poor once a month, hardly watches TV, has limited internet access,  discusses her emotions with both of us, and has a strong sense of herself as a young woman.
    Backpacks aside, we’re working on the bigger issues in our home.

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