I am at a loss. It seems children being violent with other children is on the rise. My news feed last week was filled with awful stories: an 18-year-old college student was arrested for possession of bomb materials, a 19-year-old shot and killed a student at South Carolina State University, a 19-year-old was sentenced to life with possibility for parole for shooting into a vehicle with his former love interest and her boyfriend, a 23-year-old Purdue student shot and stabbed to death a 21-year-old fellow student, three teenage boys confessed to sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl who later killed herself after photos of the incident were shared.
I'm left questioning where have we gone so wrong?
Have we neglected to teach our children how to deal with frustration and anger? Or maybe we forgot to teach them kindness? Or respect? Or how to disagree peacefully? Or how to talk things through? Or how to walk away?
Have schools become a place of strict procedures, but low guidance?
I don't know the answers to these questions, nor do I know if they are even the right questions to ask.
Many will return to the gun debate, but it isn't just guns that are hurting our children, is it? It's also knives and hands, pictures and words.
And I can't help thinking that something bigger is wrong. As humans, we are failing. We are missing something. I hope we figure out what that is soon.
I originally wrote these words in my journal last week. Since writing them, more tragic news stories have been added. A 15-year-old admitted to raping and killing his 24-year-old math teacher. An 18-year-old pleaded guilty to stabbing her former best friend when they were only 16.
And a 19-year-old shot and killed two mall employees, then himself. At the mall in my hometown. The mall I grew up going to. The mall where my first grade teacher worked a second job selling perfume in a department store. The mall where people I know still go.
We are failing. Our children are suffering. We need to course correct.
We are broken.