DON LEMON: ‘Be Present and Responsible for the Lives You Bring Into the World’

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    I’m tired.

    Tired of getting dispatched on breaking news, rolling up to schools in the middle of the day, sometimes in the middle of the night.

    Tired of getting there and the place is either on lockdown or has been emptied out.

    Tired of standing in front of the building wondering how many people are hurt or even dead this time.

    Tired of seeing the same sad, mournful look on the faces of people who work or live near or attend the school where someone or multiple people have been injured or killed inside of all places; the place where everyone is supposed to be safe, a school.

    But most of all you know what I’m tired of hearing, and I’m just being honest, I’m tired of hearing the same refrain from just about everyone who knew the person or the persons accused of these horrific acts.

    You’ve heard it: “Not such and such, he was QUIET AND KEPT TO HIMSELF.”

    Do you know how many times I’ve heard that?

    It makes me wonder if we have it all wrong. If that loud person that we get so annoyed with for being so outspoken and animated at work is actually the more mentally healthy person.

    If the person we resent or go to HR for, for speaking their minds is the person we should actually be commending.

    At least that person lets his feelings out, gets it off his or her chest. They don’t keep all those emotions bottled up inside and then explode like a hot, shaken soft drink when the cap is pulled.

    It makes me wonder again what parents are doing that they don’t know that their own kid is on a fast track to violence, murder, suicide, or prison.

    Where is the disconnect?

    Whenever I’ve had the unfortunate opportunity to interview the parents of some of the young men accused of school violence (and it’s mostly young men) I’m often shocked when they say they didn’t know that “James had assault rifles under his bed, I didn’t know”; or that “Adam had 9 millimeters in his closet, I didn’t know”; or that “Phillip would disappear for hours in the middle of the night.”

    How could you not know that? Or is it that you don’t want to know? I’m not sure.

    But I do know that when I was a child, there were no locks on my bedroom doors. And if anything was under my bed, let alone a gun, by the time I got home from school, it would be sitting on the kitchen counter with my mom standing over it saying, “What the hell is this?”

    And I’d better have a good explanation for it, and it had better been a replica for a school play or I wouldn’t be able to walk for a week because I would have gotten my you know what whooped.

    I’m not advocating violence but in my day you got a whooping and some time in, there was no such thing as a time out.

    You got time in the kitchen doing the dishes, time in the garage cleaning it out, time in the yard mowing the grass, time in old lady Johnson’s flower beds pulling her weeds, time in front of your parents learning discipline and what you shouldn’t do.

    Time out?

    That meant you got a break to go in your room and contemplate more bad behavior. Time in, is what my generation really hated and for the most part, we turned out really well.

    If there were school shootings or massacres, they were few and far between because we respected our elders and especially our teachers and our fellow students.

    And for the most part, kids don’t do that these days. A kid will curse you out if you dare say something to them, they’ll call their parents and their parents will curse you out for even having the nerve to correct their precious little angels.

    I hate to keep harping on parental responsibility but just this week in the span of two days, two young men are accused of killing a beloved teacher; elders who had their best interest at heart.

    And the parents may not be directly responsible, I’m not saying that, but I’m going to say it to you again: plan on having a child or don’t have one.

    Plan on spending time with them or don’t have one.

    Plan on not being able to do most of the things you want to do or don’t have one. It’s as simple as that.

    Because if you have one you are responsible for them until they are grown and sometimes even after.

    I’ll leave you with this:

    Take off the blinders. Every juvenile attorney or police officer I’ve ever spoken to says the first thing a parent says when their child is accused, even in the face of overwhelming evidence against their child is: “Not my baby, my baby ‘(insert name here)’ is a good child. He or she wouldn’t hurt anybody.”

    Many of those good children are in jail, prison, some on death row, for a number of reasons. But ask them or any psychologist how those children got there. The answer is lack of parental supervision, bad parenting.

    Stop the cycle; be present and responsible for the lives you bring into the world. Or those lives just might end up taking the lives of others.

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