By: Jessie Funk
I have been thinking a lot recently about the tragedy in Florida. Everyone has their own take on why it happened and how it can be prevented in the future. All of the ideas, from barricades to kindness, have merit and validity and all of them also have holes in their theories. There is no perfect miracle cure that has all the answers.
One article I read really stuck with me. It was a young man who had been at another school that experienced a shooting in recent years. His argument was that he was kind to the shooter and that he still shot up the school anyway. Of course, I understand where he’s coming from and he was saying that while kindness is certainly good, sometimes it’s not enough and of course that is true. However, I would also argue that while we may never be able to truly prevent shooters through kindness, it is still a very worthwhile prevention strategy. The fact of the matter is that a lot of kids who become shooters do so because of many, many factors. It’s never just one thing. And of course, it always comes down to their own choices as well. You can be as kind as humanly possible to someone they can still choose to do terrible things.
But another fact of the matter is that a very, very, very small percentage of people decide to murder other people. So, my point is that while we may not be able to prevent people from becoming shooters through kindness, it is still incredibly worthwhile to try. Without that kindness, some people might choose to lead a hazardous life. That simple kindness can actually help steer someone down a different, better path. And for the majority of humans, I strongly believe that is the case. Kindness is a worthwhile prevention strategy but more importantly it’s simply the best way to live.
The deeper point here is that if you feel frustrated and overwhelmed by the idea that you can’t make a difference and that people are going to do evil things regardless of whatever you do, take a step back and realize that being kind and actively looking for ways to reach out to people who need a friend or listening ear, is definitely something you can do and it will add profound meaning to your life. We need all hands on deck, everyone needs to do their part. Look for ways to contribute. Actively search for people you can help. Dream up some awesome initiative you can do in your school or community that will empower people to be the best versions of themselves. Yes, it is a relatively small thing but it can mean the world to someone…. someone who may NEED your light.