The tragic shooting in Buffalo, NY, leaves ten dead at the hands of an 18-year-old young man. Politicians say, “We must pass more laws to get guns off the streets to keep communities safe.” For years, “experts” assumed guns were the problem. Guns are one piece of the puzzle.
Americans have experienced 273 mass shootings since Columbine in 2009. Over the twelve years, 1,526 people have died, 980 injured, and 1 in 4 victims were children. In addition, between 3.3 and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually. We must ask the question, why are so many Americans violent toward each other, the police, and businesses?
Children are not born with mental health problems. Violence at home and in our neighborhoods increases fear, anxiety, and chaos. We must discuss the real issue: a lack of healthy parenting!
Based on my experience as a crime and violence prevention specialist for 40 years, let’s get honest about how to stop the violence. Many children are not learning about personal responsibility and the value of self-empowerment or how to develop self-control and a self-protective conscience that can keep everyone safer. Often, their parents were victims of abuse. Let’s discuss parenting and how to empower youth and what they need to be successful.
Suppose we continue to ignore any discussion about parenting. In that case, neighbors will continue to live with mental, physical, and emotional fear and anxiety, contributing to 53 million Americans with addiction or substance abuse problems. Alcohol and drug addiction cost $600 billion to our economy each year. We now have around 85,000 homeless citizens on city streets with an average cost of $35,000 a year per person.
Violence is contagious for isolated, angry, hurting, and uninformed youth.
With 10 million children growing up in abusive homes, we can expect more mass shootings which should be a wake-up call to every community. Violence, drugs, abuse, suicide, and homelessness are signs of a failing society with people lacking self-awareness. Unchecked violent behavior can destroy a free nation. We will no longer be the leader of the free world as we become more dependent on the government to fix us.
We can’t continue to blame guns and ignore the real issue, parenting. Let’s discuss what happened in America, why we are so violent, and what we can do today to make our communities safe, healthy, peaceful communities for every child.
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Everytown Research & Policy – National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics – Shelter House, Domestic & Sexual Violence Center – Addiction Center – Ending Chronic Homelessness – Dept. of Health & Human Services
Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant
Author of five books on the home, family, neighborhood, and community safety