Responsibility in the age of school shootings


With each passing day, there’s a new tragedy to read about in the news with details that leave us wondering how could this happen...again?

The most recent mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida has the American people revisiting the discussion about what can be done to prevent future incidents. We bear witness to a slew of press conferences from survivors and victims’ families demanding change to gun laws. We then hear from people who argue heatedly, that more guns are the solution. The pain of the event drives the anger in the conversation, as our nation tries to come to grips with this tragic epidemic. The blame game is on. More anger is generated. Hate grows. Agreement and action seems impossible.

It’s easy to wait around and see if someone else will take the reins to conquer the problem. But we, as a society, have been doing that for some time now. What we’ve been doing hasn’t been working. We get to take responsibility, as individuals, and take action. Now. Time is wasting.

A responsible leader gets to ask: what can I really do to stop the problem? Waiting for the government to solve the problem is not taking responsibility. Laws and regulations, which certainly deserve a serious look, are still band-aids on a deeper problem.

Our culture is setting a context that generates school shooters like a desert is a context that generates cacti. If we want to produce fewer (zero!) shooters, we need to change the context we are living in. We must take responsibility for the true root of our ongoing problem: our current culture of disconnection, win-lose, victim mentality, and hate.

Hurt people hurt people.

Disconnection leads to feelings of insignificance.  Rejection and win-lose lead to hate. Betrayal and abuse shatter people’s hearts and turn them dark. Hopelessness leads to suicide. School shooters are suicide cases desperate for significance.

What can we do?

  1. Keep the conversation alive: After each major event like Parkland, there is a ton of conversation immediately following it, but the conversation fades shortly after the deceased are buried. Use your voice to keep the conversation. Putting intention towards the problem will make a difference, ignoring it will certainly not!

  2. Keep the conversation productive: Regardless of which “side” you are on, we can all agree that school shootings are a terrible thing and we all want to reduce the number of them and improve safety for our children. We are aligned in that, at least. Focusing energy on trying to solve the problem rather than ideology will go far. Breeding more hate over disagreements about how to reduce hate crimes is obviously doomed to fail. Assume good intent on everyone’s part in this debate.

  3. We must create a culture that produces givers: Like a rain forest generates orchids, we can create a more loving, connected, and inclusive world; a world where everyone knows they matter, everyone knows they are loved, and everyone “belongs.” Live this way in your own life, and take real world actions that reflect your values. We can agree to disagree on politics and policy and still choose love. We must if we are going to shift our cultural emotional desert into a rain forest!

Next Level Trainings is taking action.

ONE BIG HUG! As a concrete step to make a difference, we declare that in 2018, we will create the world’s largest recorded group hug, because we say so. Our goal is 20,000 people. This beautiful and gargantuan hug will be a symbol to the world of what is possible when people come together to stand for love in the face of hate. It will inspire countless group hugs across the country, a wave of love that includes everyone. The Big Hug will embrace people of all races, genders, orientations, and political parties.

If you are interested in being a leader in this vision, please email us here. Support us in making history and making a difference!