As we chronicle over at the Kid Shootings blog, violence against children, by other children, is all too common. It is incredibly easy for teens and young children to get their hands on guns and other weapons due to their widespread ownership and lack of safe storage. And minors typically have not learned enough life lessons or developed significant self control to keep from acting out violently when things do not go their way. These two characteristics, when combined, can lead to tragic results.
Recently, the legal guardian of one young shooting victim, Tiana Montgomery (whose passing was posted on the Kid Shootings site), started an important website, called Words Not Weapons, which is dedicated to Tiana's memory. Instead of only lamenting Tiana's passing and pulling away from society, which is all-too-easy to do when you suffer the pain of a lost loved one, she instead focused her family's grief on making a positive change to help keep it from happening to others.
From the mission statement of the site:
We are a non-profit organization dedicated to giving teens words,a substitute for weapons, when dealing with confrontal situations.
We will be holding "Words Not Weapons" workshops in middle and high schools throughout the year. Educating our youth of the consequences and the effects felt by their communities when guns are used to resolve conflict. We will address the life decisions and factors that contribute to violent events and introduce alternative behaviors and redirect thinking toward a more positive path. We want to prepare our children now and of the next generation, the use-less-ness of weapons as communication.
The site also lists help lines for those in crisis.
I urge you to visit the site and find ways to help.
Violence is never a good option. Peace and nonviolence start with ourselves, then must first extend to our own families, then to our community. Together we can find ways toward a peaceful solution, and teach this to our children.