You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
Mahatma Gandhi

A friend of mine, a parent of 2 kids under 6, turned to me yesterday and said “getting my gun permit tomorrow” and insinuated that teachers needed to be armed as well.

I cannot and will not accept that the solution is more guns.

As a nation, we are still stunned and will continue to be stunned and heartbroken about the unconscionable act of violence that took 26 lives in an elementary school.

One person said just this morning, “shouldn’t we wait for the tears to dry” before we delve too deep into the technical discussions? Discussions about future prevention?

But, our tears will never dry over this.

There will be countless articles about gun control. As well there should be.

There will be much discussion about mental health. As well there should be.

There will be calls to action for politicians to DO SOMETHING. As well there should be.

But there are millions of parents across America and across the globe that still feel powerless. Parents who, like me, feel helpless and are fighting back the guilt that we have our own child here to laugh and share the holidays with when 20 families don’t have their small child and 6 more are missing the light in their respective families.

As parents, what can we do?

Some parents want to buy guns and arm themselves.

I think arming ourselves and our teachers is not the response.

I think we can change it. I think we can change it all. I think we can start a movement to change America for the better.

We can chip away at this culture of violence – this “gun culture”. Let’s tear. it. down.

Each and every parent, child, person, human, citizen, whatever – we can take action by changing how we treat other humans, how we perceive and even perpetuate violence.

Just 36 hours before Sandy Hook, this happened – an argument about NBA teams led to pulling a gun and firing bullets (BULLETS THAT KILL PEOPLE) into a subway car filled with people, human beings.

We NEED IT TO STOP.

We need to stop throwing around words like “kill, death, revenge, shoot, put a cap in your *ss, etc”

We need to stop joking about life-ending violence.

We need to stop treating human life like it is cheap enough to be ended to resolve an argument.

We need to stop making negotiating, talking it out and walking away from an argument HARDER than squeezing a trigger.

How?

By each and every parent, teacher and citizen renewing a promise to themselves, their children and the future of our great country to show respect for humanity again. We must take every opportunity to quash discussions about resolving anything with violence. We must speak up and tell the person joking about gun violence that it is never, never, never okay to trivialize using a gun for any reason other than because you had absolutely no other choice.

Parents can start with their children.

Gun advocates and gun control advocates alike can do it.

Mental health experts can do it.

Reporters can do it.

Teachers can do it.

Anyone can do it.

Let’s all move forward. Let’s honor these victims, not by making them the face of gun violence, but by making sure that as we mourn them, we make the biggest change we possibly can – by changing how we think, act and respond.

Let us all talk about life, not death. Talk about how precious and wonderful it is, not how easy it is to end. Teach it, preach it, live it. Every day remember to live as peacefully as you can, spreading that peace as much as possible. We need to make animosity, anger and violent responses as uncool as humanly possible.

As parents, citizens and human beings, we are not powerless. We can create a new culture.

A culture where we do not need to arm ourselves with more weapons on top of weapons.

A culture of hope, compassion and peace.

[Holly Robinson is a lawyer, wife and mother of 2 beautiful boys. She is also the youngest of 3 children raised by an amazing and wonderful mom, Dr. Janet Robinson, Superintendent of Newtown Public Schools]

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