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Monday, December 27, 2010

Guns are not the issue!

We can’t stop violence, if we continue to assume guns are the problem. Columnist Tammerlin Drummond’s article, “Abundance of guns is root issue” (Contra Costa Times, 12-26-10), does NOT address the root cause for violent behavior.

Many adults feel threatened and buy guns for family and home protection. Disconnected angry teens buy guns to feel powerful. The proliferation of guns is a symptom of bigger issues.

Root causes for destructive behavior.
1. Spiritual ignorance – Many children are growing up with mental, physical or sexual abuse at home (1 in 4 women in abusive relationships). Children learn the biggest bully wins! Without any spiritual understanding of self and lacking self-confidence, teens can be sucked into gangs for a sense of belonging and support.

2. Social isolation fuels violence –
When young people lack a network of support from family, neighbors or a religious family, children do not learn self-discipline or how to handle their anger. When responsible adults create a network of support around children, families will welcome guidance and correction from friends, teachers and neighbors. As neighbors connect with each other, they build trust, stop tolerating bad behavior and often become mentors for children on the block. Children need a sense of community to develop respect for others and their property. Caring neighbors and community support teaches children how to become contributing members of the community.

A goal for the future… There are 463 churches in Oakland CA. (4th most dangerous city in US) If churches would adopted just one block and help neighbors connect with each other, city life would gradually become healthy, happy places for children to grow strong and resilient. Neighbors would not feel the need to buy guns for protection.

Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Consultant
Safe Kids Now!