By Ron VandenBoom
A uniformed guard stands in the doorway of a small shack just yards from the entrance to a three-story brick building. His stern face is a silent warning not to be taken lightly.
Surrounding the structure is a seven-foot fence. Anyone attempting to enter is searched and required to walk through a metal detector.
Inside, more uniformed officers walk the halls and watch video monitors that keep a constant and silent vigil throughout the building.
Is this a prison or merely a school of the future? Unfortunately there may not be a great deal of difference between the two.
The shooting death of a 6-year-old student in an elementary school in Michigan last week has once again helped to illustrate the point that schools are no longer the safe, happy, and purely educational institutions of yesteryear. Our schools and our children are at risk of being changed forever by these random and tragic acts of violence.
Meanwhile, the only answers either school administrators or politicians seem to come up with to curb the violence is to make our schools more like prisons and to enact additional laws regulating guns.
While we can't blame our schools for taking steps to insure the safety of our children, or the government for thinking the problem can be solved by enacting more gun laws, but both solutions are like placing the Dutch boy's finger in the dike of social ills. They may temporarily modify our guilt, but the problem remains.
Welling up behind the dike is an ocean of social dysfunction an ocean that will continue to deepen so long as we are unwilling to acknowledge the problem does not lie with guns and the solution does not lie with government. Strengthening the dike, or adding more Dutch boys to plug more leaks, will not solve the problem. We have to lower the ocean of social dysfunction.
Accomplishing that places the responsibility squarely on the shoulders of individuals. It means that we, each and every one of us, must begin to take responsibility for our children.
Looking at the young shooter in the Michigan tragedy, we see a child who was himself a victim. Dropped off by his parents at the home of a known drug dealer can hardly be considered anything less than child endangerment and shows a total disregard for the child's welfare. The babysitters, too, showed a total disregard for the child's welfare by leaving loaded weapons in places where the child would have easy access.
What was occurring in Michigan is not an isolated incident. Nearly every community in the United States has a similar story to tell. Nearly every community has at least one set of parents who takes the discipline of child rearing lightly who fail to recognize and accept the fact that serious consequences result from this negligence.
The negligence extends from parents to teachers, from neighbors to the churches. We are all responsible for our children feeling alone, estranged, and neglected.
The only way to lower the ocean of social dysfunction is by replacing it with social function. We can no longer sit on the sidelines and wait for the schools or government to fix society's problems.
This means more than simply hanging a copy of The Ten Commandments in the classroom we must live The Ten Commandments. We must listen, care, sacrifice, and dedicate ourselves to the next generation.
It that means working only one job and doing with less, then do with less. If that means helping your child do homework, instead of watching Monday Night Football, then turn off the TV. If that means becoming a Boy or Girl Scout leader, then sign up.
It is not the government's responsibility to raise your child it's yours. Give the little Dutch boy a break.