In the wake of last week’s deadly shooting at a Florida high school, survivors, politicians and activists of all stripes have advocated for gun control and other measures they believe will prevent the next massacre.
The day after 17 students and faculty were gunned down at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, one Facebook post quickly gained traction for its author’s sober assessment of the culture behind such acts of violence.
As Fox News reported, Kelly Guthrie Raley was recently honored as Teacher of the Year by Eustis Middle School in Florida, and she offered her unique perspective in an essay that has since been shared more than 700,000 times.
She began by embracing her role as the “bad guy” who will “say what no one else is brave enough to say, but wants to say.”
Noting that she lives daily with the realization that her school could one day be the scene of a mass shooting, Raley offered a list of issues she thinks have contributed to the increased violence among young people. A consistent theme of her analysis was an emphasis on the role of engaged parents in the development of their children.
“Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I’ll say it-violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others’ lives, as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each others’ faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school,” she wrote.
Guns have been a constant in America, she wrote, arguing that what has changed in our society is that children no longer “understand the permanency of death.”
Though she “grew up with guns,” Raley wrote that healthy doses of fear and respect for authority kept her out of trouble.
“My parents NEVER supported any bad behavior from me,” she wrote. “I was terrified of doing something bad at school, as I would have not had a life until I corrected the problem and straightened my ass out. My parents invaded my life. They knew where I was ALL the time. They made me have a curfew. They made me wake them up when I got home. They made me respect their rules. They had full control of their house, and at any time could and would go through every inch of my bedroom, backpack, pockets, anything!”
She led up to a plea for parents to “STEP UP” and be “the parent that actually gives a crap” about their children’s lives.
Instead of attempting to be another friend, Raley said what kids really need is parental guidance.
“Being the ‘cool mom’ means not a d— thing when either your kid is dead or your kid kills other people because they were allowed to have their space and privacy in YOUR HOME,” she wrote.
The thought of shooting someone never crossed her mind, Raley argued, not because there were no guns in the home, which there were, but because she was “taught respect for human life, compassion, rules, common decency,” and most of all that her bedroom was subject to inspection at any time by her parents.
“And they were going to know what was happening because they loved me and wanted the best for me,” she wrote.
Her post gained widespread support across the ideological spectrum, as she conspicuously avoided the hot-button issue of gun control.
“I didn’t bring up gun control, and I will refuse to debate it with anyone,” she concluded. “This post wasn’t about gun control. This was me, loving the crap out of people and wanting the best for them. This was about my school babies and knowing that God created each one for greatness, and just wanting them to reach their futures.”
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