Tag Archives: Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

Protect the Beaten and Oppressed with the Constitution

We tend to get so caught up in our busy lives, in our little micro-universe that we miss the things going on in the world around us. I have to confess, I am like this a lot of the time. I don’t watch the news; it reeks of gloom and thrives on fear. I don’t listen to the radio; they use negativity and sensationalism to capture the attention of their audience, not to mention if I hear the ad for Morgan & Morgan one more time I might scream. I don’t even keep up with Facebook; the posts I care about are buried in “likes,” memes and meaningless ramblings.

But sometimes events can’t be ignored. Sometimes situations happening farther away also hit close to home. In these moments I’m reminded that I should be paying more attention to what is going on; I should be more involved; I should care enough about the world around me to help make things better.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was this for me, and I suspect for others like me.

There have been other school shootings that have riled the public but then faded away. People still remember the Columbine High School shooting from 1999 in which 13 people were murdered, but this tragedy didn’t inspire the rallies and marches that we’re seeing today after the shooting in Parkland. What makes this one unique?

I believe this one is different because of the kids. I believe the actions that the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are taking have awakened people who have been sheltered in their little piece of the Earth; people who would normally remain silent but who are now speaking out; people like me. I believe that children, teens and young adults are learning from the example of these students and have found something they can be passionate about.

There are many societal issues this group could have joined together to protest: bullying, suicide, drugs, sex, under-age drinking, teachers’ abuse of power, too much homework. This one is uniting them because the students at Parkland are not giving up. They are bringing awareness to the formerly uninformed.

Gun control has always been hotly debated. Those in favor of our “right to bear arms” have always shouted louder than those in favor of better controls, until now. I read a post the other day but unfortunately I couldn’t find it as I was writing this. In this post the author clearly shared views which mirrors mine. I felt compelled to respond, to add my voice to hers. This post and others like it help keep this moving forward.

Gun lobbyists often cite the second amendment of the Constitution; it is our RIGHT to own and carry guns. Our forefathers however, when they wrote the Constitution, did not anticipate the types of guns we have today. They did not imagine a world where semi-automatic rifles could be used to wipe out groups of people from a safe distance.

The spirit of the second amendment was to allow all Americans to defend themselves and resist oppression. It protects the right of the citizens to join forces against the government. Allowing the American people to “bear arms” ensured that they were not controlled by a government who didn’t allow the oppressed to have guns.

Those yelling about their second amendment rights seem to have forgotten that there is more to this amendment than the right to own and carry a gun. It is the right to join forces against the government.

In this way, the students marching in the protest against lax gun control laws are doing so because of this Constitutional right. They are using words instead of guns, but they are still joining together to demand the government take action. In my opinion, this is different from the first amendment right of free speech, although when words are used this is the amendment everyone points to.

I’m not an expert on the Constitution, but I suspect neither are those supporting the “right to bear arms.” If we are going to argue by citing the Constitution then we need to re-educate ourselves. We need to understand not just the words that were written but also the spirit in which they were written. If we use the Constitution to debate how we should move forward then we should consider what our forefathers truly wanted for this country.

Let’s protect the beaten and oppressed with this amendment, instead of just guns.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Micro
Photo by Anthony Garand on Unsplash

Controversial Single Mother – Who is She?

Yesterday I read a blog post that has me thinking, not just about what she said but about how divisive our society has become. The post was called “Single Parent vs Single Parent” and can be found at the link below:

https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/76765594/posts/1799625796

By posting the link to the article and not talking about it in general terms I do not mean any disrespect. Rather, I respect her opinion and I am not here to say she’s wrong. My intention is to post my point of view to see what everyone else here thinks. I also want everyone who is interested to be able to see her point of view without any bias, so I did not attempt to summarize her views. After a Google search I’ve discovered this is a popular view so I don’t mean to call her out specifically, but it was her post that led to mine and I want to give credit where credit is due.

While I’m not going to say she’s wrong, I do want to say that I respectfully disagree with her opinion.

According to her I should not call myself a single mother. According to this post only parents who are raising their child/children completely without the involvement of the other parent should call themselves a single parent.

Does it offend you if I call myself a single mother? Is there value in labeling those of us who have to share custody of our children something different? I honestly want to know.

Is this because single moms who have sole custody of their children have it harder? If this is basis, lets compare two situations. First, a single mother who has sole custody, whose parents babysit for her one night a week, who makes more than enough to pay her bills and sets money aside to help pay for college when her children are older. Second, is a single mother whose ex is verbally abusive, who sometimes “forgets” to pay his $100 a month in child support because the price of cigarettes went up again and who takes them every other weekend, or at least on the weekends he feels like complying with the custody agreement.

The label of “single mother,” in my opinion, should not attempt to universally describe a plight. For me it is a way to unite women together, not divide or label them. They may be single by choice, they may be lesbian, they may have adopted children, they may have a super supportive ex, or they may not even know the name of the father.

I have learned that there is no universally accepted definition of the term “single mother.” In my opinion, single mothers are women, or people who identify as a woman. Single mothers have children, either young or grown. Single mothers are not in a relationship with the father of their children, but they may be in a different relationship, or possibly even remarried. Single mothers may even still be in a relationship with the father but consider themselves “single” for a variety of reasons. Whoever considers themselves a single mother should be allowed to do so, without judgment. This isn’t an exclusive club and it’s not high school.

As I posted last week regarding what I felt children were learning from the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, there is power in joining together. You can accomplish more by uniting people than by dividing. I’m not sure why our society keeps going down the path of “you’re not like me” or “we’re too different to be labeled the same.”

I actually read an article in a major publication from the UK a couple years ago that said it was offensive to people who are born as a female but don’t identify as a woman to use the term “mother.” It was offensive to me to think that any group of people might try to take that word away from me.

When I started writing this I had actually considered maybe changing the name of my blog to be less offensive. After all, I do see her point. However I’m going to keep things the way they are. I am going to continue to call myself a single mother. I do this not to offend, but I do not apologize for it.

Photo by Levi Guzman on Unsplash

What Provokes Our Children?

I read a post today on social media from someone with a daughter the same age as my girls. He states he supports the kids who participated in the walkout yesterday in support of gun control but then tells us to look at what they’re not doing. He argued that other things were hurting our kids and not being protested; things such as fireworks and Tide pods. He believes these are on par with the fatal shooting that took place at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, because more children are injured by these than were killed senselessly by the crazy guy with the assault rifle.

I don’t disagree that there are many things children should take a stand on. It is time they stand up against bullying, against drugs, against drunk driving (I’m not sure why these didn’t make his list). But it was the shooting provoked enough emotion among kids across the country that they decided this is enough. They are beginning to learn the power of standing together. They are finding out that they can make a difference, that their opinion matters, that their voices should be heard.

The people who died in the shooting will be best served if this incident is enough to provoke change; not just change in gun control laws, although I do agree those are needed, but change in our youth. Perhaps if these kids learn that they can accomplish change in laws by coming together they will learn to stand together for the other issues. Perhaps if this event provokes this kind of change, they will be encouraged to make other changes. Perhaps children will know that they don’t have to be bullied. That the best reaction to bullying is to stand up, together, and fight for what is right.

Provoke
Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

A Moment of Silence

Today, one month after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, some students at my daughters’ school are participating in a walkout. The kids leading the walkout intend to stand in silence for 17 minutes, one minute for each person who died in the shooting. They will quiet the noise of everyday life and focus just briefly on each person who was brutally murdered at a place that should be safe for everyone.

The students leading the walkout have met with the principal and students participating have permission to leave class at the appointed time. This is not a protest against the school but a show of solidarity with fellow students. The school is providing the choice for children to participate, or not. The school is providing supervision, but not leading this event. This is by the students for the students. I applaud the school for allowing these middle-schoolers to take a stand, to speak up through their silence.

I sincerely hope that the children who make the choice to go understand how important it is that they really do maintain the silence. I have a hard time imagining a group of middle school kids standing without the noise of chatter, texts and Instagram for 5 minutes let alone 17 minutes. It is this gift of silence that to me is so meaningful.

Although this is happening across schools nationally to send legislators a message, there are many reasons to join this walkout. When I talked to my girls about this they weren’t sure if they were going to participate. If they choose to go to support the message, to remember the people who died, to protest violence in school then I support them 100%. I do not support them going simply to get out of class, and I believe if my kids participate they will do so for the right reasons.

I think today I too will choose to take 17 minutes of silence to support the students and remember the fallen. School should be a place where kids feel safe. They do not feel safe anymore and that is tragic. What is worth 17 minutes of silence to you?

Noise