This is a different article than I typically write. First I want to say my thoughts and prayers are with all the victims, their families and friends, the students and teachers and first responders of the school shooting this week in Santa Fe, Texas. Next, I want to ask the United States Government, when will they finally take action and protect our children? This shooting is not long after the shooting in Florida. The students there and across the country protested across the United States demanding laws impacting mental health care and requesting sane gun control laws. They were tired of the NRA dictating to the United States Congress about what gun laws would be passed and which were unacceptable.

The NRA always points to the second amendment which grants people the right to protect themselves with guns. However, the NRA ignores the fact that the U.S. Declaration of Independence guarantees everyone the unalienable rights to life, liberty and happiness. I do not see how students having to go to school everyday and worrying if they will be killed fulfills this promise of life, liberty and happiness.

Another important point is the United States is the only country in the world which is dealing with this problem of school shootings. The ABC news show 20/20 did a story about school shootings last year. In their report they reported that more students had been killed in school shootings in 2017 than the previous 17 years added all together. CNN had reported on January 24, 2018 that there had been a school shooting every day of 2018. These are very alarming statistics.

As a psychotherapist, who treats children and teenagers, I have seen a significant increase in anxiety in children and teens over the last several years. Most of these children and teens are reporting that they are afraid to go to school. They are afraid that they will be shot and killed at school. Many teenagers I work with have started caring knifes with them. They tell me they need the knifes for their protection. They tell me they have no way of knowing who has a gun or knife and if they will be shot at school. These children and adolescents fear for their lives because they see our government doing nothing to protect them. Instead, they hear daily about school shootings and they have drills at their schools about what to do if a shooter is on their campus.

When are children fear for their lives and are demonstrating for sane gun control, when will the government act? As the Congress debates this issue, students are still being killed on a regular basis. In February of this year, there was the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It has only been about two months and we have this shooting in Santa Fe, Texas. There have been other school shootings during this time too. When do we say, enough?

Parents, the U.S. Congress is not paying attention to the students protesting and requesting gun laws to be changed so they can go to school and feel safe. They ignore the students because most of them are not old enough to vote. Many of the members of the U.S. Congress are mainly concerned with being re-elected and maintaining their high paying job where they do not have to do a great deal of work. Parents it is time for you to act! The 2018 elections are occurring this year and many seats in the House of Representatives and Senate are up for re-election. Since the U.S. Congress will do nothing to protect the school children then you must. Every parent needs to go to the polls this year. You need to vote for people who will stand up to the NRA and vote for people who will enact laws which will protect the children of our country. You also need to cast votes that will remove those members of the Congress who refuse to enact laws that will protect our children. Many of the high school students impacted by shootings may not be old enough to vote in the 2018 election, but parents you can. You can send a very important message to the teenagers of our country. You can tell them that you hear their cries asking for laws that will make them feel safer and you agree with their demonstrations and you are responding to their requests to be safe. You can say the Congress may ignore them but we will not ignore them. You are too important to ignore and we will keep you safe.

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 20 years experience as a psychotherapist treating children and teenagers. For more information about Dr. Rubino’s work or private practice visit his website www.RubinoCounseling.com or on Twitter @RubinoTherapy.

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