We need a cultural shift with respect to violence now, and we all have a role to play.

Advocating for gun control laws is certainly a big piece of it.  Having more awareness, scientific understanding, and resources for mental health is another huge component. Rethinking the role of and messaging from media in times of violence is integral. Changing the way we discuss violence in our families and communities is still another.

A tragedy like what happened in Newtown, CT could have happened anywhere. As Americans [As teachers, As parents, As children, As someone who lives in CT, As a first responder…you name the connection] we all feel hurt and betrayed by it. But this isn’t about Adam Lanza; this is not an isolated case of ‘crazy’. It’s a bigger problem of a culture of violence in a society where violence is a viable option, and our collective inability to guide smart decision-making within that society. And, unfortunately, this problem won’t be solved by the government, or by nonprofits, or by families raising kids differently. In fact, it might not ever be ‘solved’; that’s a scary thought. That’s why we must do what’s in our power to shift this culture over time from all fronts; only then will we have a chance of seeing the needle move.

*The shooter, Adam Lanza, does not appear on most lists of victims. He is a victim though (and also guilty, no doubt) of a society that in whatever way contributed to this rampage. I mourn him, too, despite hating with all of my soul what he did.

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