To the editor:
The recent shooting at a Florida school is both heartbreaking and maddening to hear about. The reality that children and young adults are murdering one another at an ever increasing rate is something that we need to act to change immediately.
While the knee-jerk reaction from many of my fellow Americans has been to blame guns, we feel that there is a more sinister culprit that needs to be addressed. As technology has improved, our social and coping skills have become lacking. While bullying and social isolation have reached an all-time high, few resources are available to teach kids how to emotionally handle and process the struggles of adolescence.
We personally believe that our diminishing connection to each other and our community is mostly to blame for the violence that we have been witnessing. We therefore propose less focus on the fight over gun control and more interest in funding programs to strengthen our communities that everyone can get behind. Programs or classes in schools that encourage alternative conflict resolution, and exercise students' powers of empathy, may go a long way to decrease school violence. Spending on community meeting spaces for youth and adults is also, in our view, very important.
Another unfortunate reality of our society is that we have never had a good system for the management of mental illness. As our population increases the number of facilities and resources for mentally ill people has decreased. Discouraging social stigma of mental illness, and increasing awareness and treatment for people that struggle with these issues could both improve the safety, as well as the unity of our communities.
We feel that as young people, it is our duty to express the preservation of our second amendment right is extremely important to us. We do not intend to ever give up our constitutional rights which we strongly believe were granted by our forefathers for good cause. Liberty is protected by individuals, not governments.
With deeply heartfelt sympathy for the families that have to daily return to a home without their children, we ask you act decisively for social change. If we do not change how young people treat one another now, we will be facing an ever repeating pattern of violence.