We haven’t posted here in a long time, but the interest of children is what matters to The Interested Child.

I have written elsewhere about the horrific ways in which children have been treated in the world and about my own connection with the Newtown Massacre. But the world seems to have gone even crazier in the past couple of years, and the shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida last week was just one episode of madness too much. And I’m not talking just about the shooter, but about the studied way in which politicians keep sidestepping the issue of gun violence and gun control.

If you’re reading this you care about kids. You are likely a parent or a guardian or an educator. You watch kids every day. You have probably been watching the Olympics and marveling at the teenagers on skis and snowboards, for example, hurling themselves into the air, spinning crazily, and landing in the medal zone. You know that these are passionately interested children, and you pray that the sports systems that have brought them to PyeongChang are healthier and less exploitative than what we have been hearing about in women’s gymnastics. But I suppose we all wonder.

What we know about mass shootings is that nothing will happen, or at least that nothing has happened yet. Politicians bray about “thoughts and prayers,” mumble something about “mental health,” and then go back and curl up at the feet of their gun-lobby masters, apparently content that the cycle of violence is now as American as apple pie and that re-election is in their money-filled bag.

Some kids have even learned to capitalize on the sick pointlessness of all this, and the cycle now includes copy-cat threats to schools, replacing false fire alarms as an effective way to get attention, have some lulz, and maybe even delay that algebra test for a day. Someone, somewhere is keeping a tally, but Thursday and Friday’s toll of these was well into the dozens, nationally, by my quick review of local news sites across the country. And apparently a few of the thwarted threats were for real. Jesus wept.

But the children are speaking up in positive ways, too, and the media, at least, are suddenly beginning to listen. I read in my local paper today a story about a rally held by Parkland, Florida, students in which they spoke out—loud and proud and passionate and angry—on the issue of guns. “We call B–S!” was their cry. Bravo! Is ours.

And we have calls to action from other places: Women’s March Youth EMPOWER, Everytown, and the Network for Public Education have proposed days (March 14, March 24, and April 20, respectively) for student and teacher walk-outs and teach-ins. The idea is to spark enough positive action to capture enough of the attention of the voting public to, in turn, capture the attention of politicians at all levels—hopefully enough attention to drown out the gun lobby’s mandate for inaction.

The Interested Child supports these and other efforts to curb the United States’s appalling rate of gun violence: on an average day, 96 people die by the gun, including 7 children and teens. This is unacceptable.

And if children’s voices can help in this effort, we urge our readers to engage themselves and their own interested children in this work. This is not about exploiting children for political gain but about somehow finding the right combination of voices and messages to change the world, or at least our little part of it.

I don’t even understand why this is about politics at all. Who can disagree that kids’ lives should be protected by the adults who write and enforce the laws of the land?

Leave a comment


  1. Persis Gow

     /  February 18, 2018

    Violence…..watch TV, go to the movies, read books, play games…..even the ads for new cars has them racing with unpleasant looks at each other. I don’t know when these all began to be the norm but toy store ads are full of warriors and spooky looking aliens and look-alike guns are readily available. There is a fine line between mental health and mental illness, of which we need to be cognizant and take action. Even within our own circle of friends and family.

    Angry tweets, presidential or otherwise, bring nastiness into daily communications.

    We need to think before we provide lessons in violence ,and realize that our children can absorb peace and kindness, too. The children who are speaking loudly now deserve to be listened to and allowed to help in the restoration of non-violence in their lives, and ours as well.

    Sent from my iPad


  2. Wendy Davenson

     /  February 21, 2018

    I am so proud of the young people of Parkland, Florida, who are speaking out. Their words reflect clear thought and beautiful articulation. I applaud them! They will soon be voters too – and Congress: Beware! The broken promises of Congress during the Sandy Hook tragedy are being repeated today. So sad!

    Mental health issues continue to be frightening. First grade teachers can predict which kids will be in trouble with mental health, the law, and drug use, with about an 80% accuracy rate. And some of the prediction comes from watching parental behaviors that are not loving and kind.

    Many disenfranchised kids come from homes where they do not receive love, kindness, respect, encouragement, or safety. We recreate what we learn from our family of origin.

    We have lots of work to do!


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