Home » Fragile Family Atmosphere and the School Shootings in America

Fragile Family Atmosphere and the School Shootings in America

by Rinku Khumukcham
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By: M.r. Lalu
Gruesome, horrific and bone-chilling- I know the vocabulary to describe the massacres in schools across America cannot be limited to these three words. But the level of animosity that the young generation in this country is growing with is harrowing and I really believe that this gut-wrenching killing spree cannot be addressed with gun control alone. Much more needs to be done with respect to bring the young minds to sensitize the gravity of chaos their brains are enmeshed in. It should be unbelievable to know that America has more guns than the actual population of the state. The U.S, the richest and the most developed country in the world, has more than 400 million guns circulating among a population of nearly 332 million. Despite making economic affluence, America is largely a society stooping towards a complete moral decline. This appears to be a crude observation but on ground the situation is worsening with every passing day. The children who walked into the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde in Texas on 24 May 2022 would not have thought that the morning leisure time in their school would witness a bloodbath killing at least 19 of them and two adults in their lovely campus. Before taking his assault rifle to the school campus, the young killer Salvador Ramos checked the efficacy of the weapon that he procured a few days before his 18th birthday on his grandmother shooting in her face. The reason behind this barbarity is yet to be uncovered but this is not the first of its kind the U.S witnessed – a mass shooting in a school. There have been such horrific massacres across the country and the one that happened in Stockton, California in 1989 was the first which killed five children. On December 14, 2012 in the Sandy Hook School of Newtown, Connecticut, the young shooter Adam Lanza was 20 years old and fearless when he pointed his assault rifle taking the lives of 20 children and 6 adults. 17 children were mercilessly gunned down by the young shooter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and the list continues. Imagine the trauma of the parents who, on the fateful day, sent their kids off to school by the school bus and waited for their homecoming with a jubilant face. Shockingly, statistics reveal the fact that hundreds of children were killed in mass shootings in the state of America in between 1989 to 2022.
As per the studies carried out by different agencies, most of the cases of mass murder by the youngsters in the schools had a common feature which is staggering. Almost everywhere, before the mass killing, the shooters attempted to either kill someone at their homes or attempted at least an assault. It is indeed distressing to notice that most of the school shooters were either current or former students of those schools where they tested the precision of their weapons. There may be various reasons that provoked these young minds to carry out such terrible atrocities. A child, from his formative days would be influenced by various factors. The depth of influence that his parents are capable of having on him matters the most at this stage. As a society, America has been witnessing a rise of non-marital cohabitation and frequent divorce and the family life that a child is forced to grow through would find him totally distressing and wobbly. What we experience in India is totally different. In India we have been focussing on strengthening family relationships from all possible dimensions. The values that we cherish as a family surely reinforce the bond among its members. We value the atmosphere in a family, respecting and recognising its effect on the children as they grow. From two parents to one parent to no parent, the life of many children in America is actually inconsolable. Reasons to this level of mishmash in childhood must be enough for the young minds to become muddleheaded and satisfy the silent rebellion that the circumstances they have been growing in has forced. Children, with a childhood lost of its tenderness, love and care in broken families are bound to develop a rebellious itch against all who enjoy such faculties. 
The Pew Research Center, in its study reports share some interesting facts which probably can substantiate focusing on the reasons that push the young Americans to become atrocious at a young age. It reveals the speed with which the American families are breaking from two-parent households to single parent households or children growing without parents. The country is witnessing a rapid rise in divorce, remarriage and cohabitation and forcing the families to shrink. In a tumultuous family atmosphere, parenting is challenging and the children trapped in this volatility live in fear, horror and uncertainty and mostly with hatred for their parents. According to the Pew Research Report, 16% of children are living in “blended families” with a stepparent, step siblings or half sibling. A new estimate states that about one in five children born within a marriage will experience the breakup of the parents by age 9 and half of the children born within a cohabiting union will experience the breakup of their parents at the same age. These data are evident enough to unearth the reason, which is mainly the lack of moral values that the families are sailing with. A family without siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents at the family table and the whole family organ trimmed to an atom size, devoid of the beauty and the lovely mischief that a family, a replica of a society would have; would mostly be a volcano inside. The loneliness and the squabbles that the child finds as part of the family’s parental discourse and the absence of mutual respect amid affluence and a morality in decline contribute to his volatile behaviour.  Broken families are mushrooming in India too; of course the trend is yet to gain momentum.
A satisfactory assessment is that India has the lowest divorce rate in the world. It is almost lower than 1% in India. This may not be an awesome achievement as many families are silent volcanoes even though the atmosphere inside them is terribly obnoxious with many of the upsetting issues never break open the walls or are concealed tight. In comparison to America’s 50% marriage breakups, India’s 1% is really praiseworthy. With Sweden ranking the highest in divorce rates followed by America, India is still in a better position. It is quite unlikely for India to face the situation that America does. But families should become more resourceful and canters of magnanimity and care where children can grow with self-respect and generosity.  Violent family atmosphere ignites self-hate and despair among children as it did in the case of most of the school shooters in America. The solution to what we call an epidemic of gun violence in America is basically a course correction that every family needs to get ready to go for. A ban on assault rifles will be an initial administrative step that the country can take but it is for the people of the country to set their houses alright. To a large extent, India is a good example for value based families and happy parenting.
(The writer is a Freelance Journalist/Social Worker)

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