West Words’ recent column, “Firearm Controversy Isn’t Easy to Resolve” stirred up almost as much controversy as the one on Duck Dynasty. My initial inclination was to respond in the readers’ posting area at the bottom of the column. As always, I ran long in my post and decided to turn the response into a column.
Two Quick Queries
But first I have questions regarding the gun controversy column.
1. Do these comments belong to the column “Firearm Controversy Isn’t Easy to Resolve,” or did they somehow get transferred from someone else’s political editorial?
2. The only reference to the column I can find is Miraculous Mutha’s “Nice article Karen. Thanks.” Best I can tell, most of the comments were bounced back and forth between Miraculous and Mr. Parsons, not surprisingly, the two readers who post comments regularly.
Make no mistake, I am grateful for their faithfulness, even when they disagree. Through the years there have been any number of editorial opinions and columns that were interesting enough but not nearly as fascinating as the comments posted by readers.
Forgive my possible naivety, but the column we’re discussing isn’t about politics, partisanship, right-wingers, Tea Partiers, or any other political issue. It is about needy children in dysfunctional families. I.e., Children, Families, Mental Illness, Schools, Education, Compassion and a Solution to a national disease threatening our nation’s children as surely – and certainly as deadly – as Europe’s devastating Black Plague in the 1300s.
More than 20 million Europeans – almost one-third of the continent’s population – died. But the plague, like our nation’s trend toward innocent assassins, started in a small way – one infected rat, one man, and one ship in Sicily that multiplied exponentially to 20 million people dying horrible deaths.
The previous column posited that “the right to bear arms…is uniquely complicated…and is less about guns than it is about young people growing up with anger, neglect, abuse, and no one to diagnose their mental illness and help them heal or cope.
“Strong action is needed to identify these troubled children and help them navigate into a sane and safe life. Otherwise we will lose far more than the 20 six-and-seven-year-olds and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.”
If you, dear readers, interpret those comments as relating to Democrats, Republicans, Tea Partiers, or any other political issue, please re-read the first column and enlighten me.
Martin Luther King and I…
I have a dream that has lingered for more than a decade. Imagine a program operating through the social and civil services of our educational system to provide a solidly conceived and dynamically designed testing system for kids in kindergarten through high school. Public and private schools alike.
This program might address familial problems, nutrition and health issues, abuse in all its awful manifestations, and any other challenges parents and children confront. It could be as simple as identifying near-sightedness or food allergies. It might discover physical or sexual abuse. It may find an environment embedding itself into a little brain and beginning to control his anger, frustration, and dangerous tendencies.
Sometimes the wealthiest parents bring up a sadly neglected child. Sometimes the poorest parents bring up the smartest, brightest child. It’s all about love. Love a child and prove it through your actions, your hugs, your words, and your desire for all things good for her.
All things good for your child
Under “all things good for your child” is the category of physical and mental health. It may seem easy to identify measles, chicken pox, asthma, and other childhood diseases – or at least be aware that medical advice is required. Not so much when a child’s developing brain has a problem.
Most parents can’t initially recognize their child’s Attention Deficit Disorder, Manic/Depressive Disorder, Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, Autism/Asperger’s Syndrome, and dozens of other mental challenges, all of which can have a devastating effect.
We have a child in our family who has dealt with one of these diseases, and so I speak with a certain amount of knowledge gained painfully through experience. My dream is to develop a program to help children and parents who struggle with these disabilities and diseases before things start to happen and every heart breaks.
It may start in a small way, but in my dream it blossoms and then explodes into a program saving untold numbers of lives and children…and hearts. No budgetary dollar could be better spent.