The internet wouldn’t be the internet if people (mostly white, suburban moms) didn’t find something to get completely and utterly worked up about. This week the outrage is in response to the Walk Up, Not Out movement.

This past Wednesday, kids all over the world held a walkout in their schools for 17 minutes in honor of the students and staff who were killed in the most recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

In response to that, a 6th grade teacher in Virginia, Jodie Katsetos, offered an alternative to the walkout. It was not meant to take the place of the walkout, it was simply an option and could be done alternatively or it could coincide with the walkout. In other words, the two actions were not mutually exclusive.

Of course, the internet doesn’t understand that (remember all the fuss about the Black Lives Matter signs and hashtags?). No, the internet needs to have a clear enemy and this week it was a 6th grade teacher who suggested that maybe kids try to be more inclusive and nicer to each other. 

Many women equated the message to victim blaming and then used examples of abused children being kinder to their abusive parents; domestic abuse victims being kinder to their abusers; rape victims being kinder to their rapists… etc, etc, you get the message. 

The problem with that analogy is that until Nikolas Cruz started shooting, the kids were not abuse victims. To my knowledge, he had not been abusing the students prior to the shooting. 

That’s splitting hairs of course.

My daughter participated in the walkout at her school, with my encouragement, even though I hold no expectations that it will make a difference. We’ll also be walking at the Capitol on March 24th. Again, not because I think it will make a difference – there will be more school shootings, but because I want to encourage my daughter to participate in civic matters that are important to her. 

I’m not against gun reform, I think we can do a lot to tighten up the laws we have about buying guns. We could enforce a lot of the laws we already have, raise the age to buy a gun to 21 and do all kinds of other things that probably won’t make a bit of difference. If a person is hell-bent on shooting up a school, they’re going to get their hands on a gun or 20. 

You could make owning a gun illegal and there will still be school shootings. 

Let’s take it a step further… Imagine we’ve managed to round-up all the guns, that they simply no longer existed in the United States, a guy hellbent on killing students can still rent a Ryder truck and fill it up with ammonium nitrate like Timothy McVeigh did in Oklahoma. He didn’t kill 17 people, he killed 168.

All without a gun.

We need to figure out what happens to these kids that makes them want to kill. 

It’s probably naive to think being kinder to someone could prevent such a thing, but it’s a start. Cruz was a kid who had nothing left to lose. He had fallen through the cracks a long time ago and I suspect when his mother died he lost it. 

That doesn’t justify his actions in any way. 

We have a mental health problem that is a major part of our school shooting problem. Gun laws might make it harder to get a gun to do the deed, but someone who is mentally deranged enough to want to kill multiple people will find another way to do what they want to do.

We need to address both issues. Criticizing those who offer alternative discussions or ideas isn’t going further the discussion, it’s going to shut it down… again.

Walkout, and walk up.