When will enough be enough? Another school shooting leaves us angry and confused. We must be the change this world needs. It starts with us.

Typically, I use my blog to share thoughts on music, provide tips and tricks I have learned over the years, and present some of my favorite pieces to whoever stops by. Not today. This may be more a spewing of the emotional mess my brain currently holds. After another school shooting, I am left hurting and angry. I know many of you are as well.

Why does this keep happening? What motivates these kids to commit such radial actions against those they grew up with? The people they know.  I have no doubt they all attending birthday parties together, rode bikes down the street, or played video games at each others’ house.

The fact is school shooting keep happening. They have been since I was in high school. I still remember the Heath High School shooting on December 1, 1997. At the time I was attending Murray State University and Heath HS was less than an hour away. A couple years later, one of the survivors roomed next door to a friend of mine in a dorm. We got to know each other a bit.

April 20, 1999, was the Columbine HS massacre, where two perpetrators killed 13 people. They were also both killed.

None of this hit as close to home as the shootings at Mattoon High School – a community in which I lived for three years – and Marshall County High School – where I know teachers at the school and people from the community.

This is not a new thing. Since the 1950s, the United States witnesses at least 17 school shooting per decade.  However, since 2010, we have already witnessed 143 shootings. As much as I want to say there is good news in this, whether it is the fact no one was hurt or killed in many of these atrocities, I can’t.

Enough is enough

Look, I don’t have the answers to the solution. More control of guns? Sure. Better identification mental illness and access to treatment? Yes. Teaching our boys that being a man does not mean acting tough and responding with violence? Absolutely. I believe these events occur for a multitude of reasons and I am not here to hash them all out.

After the Columbine Massacre, composer Frank Ticheli was commissioned to write a musical response to the tragedy. In the work, Ticheli incorporated a quote from the Alma Mater of Columbine High School. To this day it is one of the most moving pieces in the wind band repertoire.

While I don’t know the answers to the situations that our nation faces, here is what I know we can do.

  • Love people. Care for the people around us and provide them a shoulder to cry on and an ear for listening.
  • Stand up. When we see injustice, including bullying or acts of oppression, stand up. Let people know we will no longer tolerate hate. No based on religion, creed, orientation, or race.
  • Raise your voice. Contact your governmental representatives and let them know we desire change.
  •  Love yourself. Take care of yourself. Find joy in who you are and what you do. I have always found it interesting that Jesus says in the Bible to “love your neighbor as yourself.” If we hate ourselves, we hate our neighbors.

We want change, and we must start the change.

As for me, I take this quote from Leonard Bernstein as my guide.

“This will be our reply to violence:
to make music more intensely,
more beautifully,
more devotedly than ever before.”

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