A Good Influence?

 

I’m not sure if it is a character flaw or a strange gift, but I tend to contemplate on things that I experience on a small, seemingly insignificant level, and then transpose them into a larger context as it may relate to world events.  Sometimes I love the way my mind races, and other times I think I’m just really weird!   Example:  In one of my 5th grade classes I have three of my best-behaved, well-adjusted young girls sitting with a young boy who is very undisciplined & rather disruptive.  (Well, of course my hope is to have some of the “good influence” rub-off!  I’m a positive person and an American with a self-appointed-saviour-complex!)  After a while though, whether you are a child of 10 or a country with good intentions, you might just snap and throw a pencil at the “bad boy” who just doesn’t know how to “play nice”!  (She felt terrible, by the way, and he looked justified when I corrected her behavior.  Not unlike some leaders and their nations in the news of late.) This is probably first year psych-major stuff, but what do I know? I was an art history major!

So, how is it that educated men & women of privilege in positions of political power (i.e. DC lawmakers) don’t see their own flawed ideology when it comes to drone strikes & US foreign policy? We can’t have it both ways. We can’t be outraged at gun violence in our country & the tragic deaths of innocent children while condoning the use of drones in places like Pakistan and Yemen. As we argue for tighter gun control, how many is too many innocent lives lost? What’s the “magic number” that will get us to act? 5? 6? 8? 10? 26? 556? 1,000? At what number do we say “enough is enough” and take action to make some change? Are American lives more valuable than Pakistani lives? Is the tragic death of an American Child worthy of more of our tears than a Syrian or Afghani child? An American citizen, a Pakistani, and a terrorist all have mothers & fathers, spouses, siblings, sons & daughters who will all mourn their loss. Innocent children are being killed by drone attacks, disturbed gunmen, and by the misfortune of being born in a war-torn or impoverished country. They are waiting for those of us with good intentions to act. How much longer will they have to wait? How many more innocent lives will be lost & how many more will mourn the loss of their loved ones before we do act?

Whether we act as individuals, as groups, politicians or nations, we must act. Too often we do nothing because we feel overwhelmed by the scope of everything, but that’s the very point when action has its most powerful effect! We can be the “good influence”, but only if we act compassionately & unconditionally. Below are some sites I found that advocate for gun-control, non-violence, and other paths to peace & justice, especially peace & justice for children trapped in war zones.

As for my 5th graders: I’ll continue to pursue peace talks & other creative means for peaceful co-existence. I think they know that I love them all & only want the best for them, & that’s a start.

American for Responsible Solutions
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence
Drones Watch
War Child Charity
SOS Children Charity
Save the Children-Syria

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