My morning ritual usually includes drinking my tea while watching the wildlife in our yard. Each day varies, but we receive frequent visits from Canadian Geese, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Red-Winged Black Birds, Mourning Doves and Starlings. Lately, a little Groundhog we named Gladys has joined the gatherings.
In addition, you can always see chipmunks, ground squirrels and tree squirrels. We’ve also had the occasional Sand Crane, Hawk, Turkey, and Deer. Twice we have had the Geese bring their babies. And twice we’ve had a momma Deer with her babies. Once we even had a momma Field Mouse build a nest and birth her babies in the side burner of our grill.
Yesterday morning I was blessed to see a new visitor to our community. A White Squirrel.
This is the first white or albino animal I’ve encountered not in captivity. I had instant goose bumps and was immediately awestruck. I knew, from my years of studying Native American Lore that the vision of a white animal was a true honor and gift. After a few minutes I collected myself enough to take a short video, before she disappeared into the tree limbs.
I knew it was a good omen, but did not know the specifics. I would research that later.
But before I could do that I was informed of the latest school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. My community is still recovering from the November 30, 2021 Oxford High School shooting.
Instantly, on social media the gun rights and gun reform activists jump on the platform to present their respective positions on this event. If you want, there is a deep rabbit hole of points of view on this topic. But I didn’t want.
What I want is for everyone to stop avoiding, what I see as the real issue. The real cause. Anything less is simply exploitation of other’s pain in order to further one’s own agenda.
School shootings aren’t about guns. Mass shootings aren’t about guns. Drive by shootings aren’t about guns. Violence involving guns isn’t about guns.
Just like rape isn’t about sex.
It’s about power. And the fact that violence is increasing (with and without guns involved) should tell you that guns are not the problem. They are merely one tool with which one chooses to attempt to take power from another.
I find it no coincidence that school shootings have increased in this realm of power grabbing.
In the aftermath of events like this we hear children spoken of as “cherished and vulnerable” members of our society. That ‘we’ (always meaning the government) need to do better at protecting them.
Yet we have created an infrastructure that has either ripped the nurturing parent away from the child simply in order to keep a roof over their heads and food in their bellies, or lured the greedy parent away in the pursuit of more money, more things, more success…more time away from the family.
In researching school shootings, it isn’t until the mid 70’s that random school shootings start. Up until then ‘school shootings’ seem to have a personal target. A student, teacher, or employee exacted revenge for a specific perceived injustice. But starting in December 1974, Anthony Barbaro, a 17-year-old Regents scholar armed with a rifle and shotgun, kills three adults and wounds 11 others at his high school, which was closed for the Christmas holiday. Barbaro was reportedly a loner who kept a diary describing several “battle plans” for his attack on the school.
It is easy to blame guns, but the second amendment was written in 1791, so, what societal modifications have occurred since the 60’s, that initiated school shootings in the past five decades?
- Teacher to student ratios
- Dual-income families surpassing traditional one-income families
- The disappearance of the middle class
- simple computer gaming systems- started the trend away from outdoor play with multiple friends to individual indoor play or with one friend
- 1976 introduced the first controversial video game Death Race
- 1983 first video game to include a rape scene
- 1993 Mortal Combat is the first video game to include lifelike, realistic violence
- smart phones and portable gaming devices increase accessibility
- virtual reality gaming further creates difficulty for developing brains to separate fantasy from reality
- Video games are designed to be addictive, targeting the reward center in the brain which releases dopamine in response to a pleasurable experience or hyperarousal
- Genetically modifying food
- Plastic bottles for soft drinks (and later water)
- The predominance of fast food restaurants
- The introduction of the microwave to households
- The birth of the ‘diet’ culture and a 150% increase in intake of artificial sweeteners
- A boom in pharmaceutical development including the contraceptive pill, cancer drugs, and a shift in the way pharmaceutical industry focused it’s energies.
- An increase in ADHD diagnosis and medication prescription
- The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH), also known as bovine somatotropin (rbST) for use in dairy cattle
- The increased household use of PFAS chemicals
This is by no means an all inclusive list of all the modifications, since 1970, affecting our society and the development of our children, but it should be more than enough to get people to start to look at the bigger picture.
The majority of school shooters are between the ages of 13 and 19.
Now look back on all those modifications and imagine the cumulative effect of all of them could have on a developing body from the ages of 13-19. This is puberty. This is when hormones are increasing and brain chemistry is changing. This is when the adult brain is being developed!
The changes listed above, impact…
- the emotional, social and psychological development by limiting the availability of parents to be hands on, on a daily basis by sending the stay-at-home parent out to provide a second income
- the physiological development by altering the quality of food intake
- the physiological and psychological development by introducing/increasing chemicals (pharmaceuticals and food source additive)
You have only to compare class pictures from each decade to see the obvious physical effects these societal modifications cumulatively have had on human development.
Other observations? One resource states the 1968 publication of the DSM-II (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), listed 182 disorders, and the 1994 publication of the DSM-IV listed 410 disorders.
Take a minute to read this summarization of mental health care system in the US.
It isn’t just easy to blame guns, it’s lazy. Our society, in the name of progress, is changing our very DNA and we want to legislate ONE piece of hardware?
It’s very typical for the powers that be to compartmentalize these things in order to have people miss the possible connections so they can freely drive forward their own agendas.
“I see, Jade, but what does all this have to do with the White Squirrel?”
Well, that came later, when I did my research.
The White Squirrel symbolizes good luck, change and financial abundance. White Squirrels are rare and this alone makes them a good omen. It also explains why it is deemed lucky to be seen by one. Squirrels are known for storing their resources in planning for winter, hence the message of abundance.
Historically, in mythology and lore, a white or albino squirrel is a symbol of change coming. This was considered to be a welcomed and good omen, indicating that troubling times are almost at their end, and the best is still to come.
The fact that I saw the squirrel before the news of the shooting happened to reach me, I believe was to set my tone. Just when I have been feeling like it is all a lost cause, White Squirrel gives me hope.
I will not fall down the compartmentalized rabbit holes the narrators of this story are telling. I will listen, instead, to the story that nature narrates and keep my peace about me.
I do my part, and I believe this White Squirrel is speaking to that. I believe that what I do, and have done, makes a difference.
I raised my child without ever having owned a video game console (still don’t). I limited her TV and computer usage growing up. I created a safe space for her to express all her emotions and opinions. I allowed her to express anything as long as it was done with respect. It was ok to disagree in my house, but not ok to argue. I taught her meditation, yoga and journalling. I paid attention to what she was saying and what she wasn’t saying. I paid attention to what I was saying and what I wasn’t saying. I said, “I was wrong” when I made a mistake and apologized. I said, “I don’t know” when I didn’t know. I said, “I love you.” Every. Single. Day.
I paid attention to what went into her body, mind and soul. If I could’ve, I would’ve homeschooled her. Not because she didn’t have some amazing, nurturing and solid teachers, but because she also had teachers that made her sit on the floor, judged her for her processing differences, took offense at her asking questions, and made her feel ‘less than’ – all before high school.
I opt out of hysterical social media campaigns. I stay away from chemicals in my food, in my drink, and in my air. I reach first for natural remedies that support my immune system in times of illness. I stay away from processed foods. I haven’t eaten fast food in decades. I don’t use a microwave. I pay attention to what I say to others. I apologize when I’ve caused harm, even though it was unintentional. I am cautious about who I share energy space with.
In short, I take care of my corner of the world.
If I come across a being in need, I offer help. If that help is not warranted, not wanted, or not appreciated I move on. It is not my responsibility to heal the world. It is my responsibility to be a healing presence for the world…it is the world’s responsibility to do it’s own healing.
Healing will only come when everyone takes care of their own corner. This is where and how the change will come. I hope the Squirrel means a more personal change for me, but I believe it has a larger meaning also. That this time of turmoil is about to be transmuted. That the pendulum is about to change direction.
That change starts at home and especially homes with children. In one generation, we could reduce crime dramatically, simply by empowering our children. Much of parenting is being done by attempting to control children. To control a being, you have to remove their power…or at least convince them they are powerless. Children are taught to not question authority at an early age. This makes them easier to control by parents and teachers. It also makes them vulnerable to predators of all types.
Then, somehow, society seems to perceive that a child’s power is magically reinstated when they turn 18. False. Young adults are only as empowered as their parents taught them was acceptable. As adults this makes them easier to control by other authority types, like police, employers, and religious leaders.
You have adults ages 18-26 running around with the emotional power equivalent of 8 year olds. They are being violated with no skills to navigate it. Now, consider the hormonal instability of puberty and it is clear why school shooters tend to be between the ages of 13-19.
The answer doesn’t lie in legislation. It lies in healing. It lies in empowering every young person. It lies in your corner of the world. It lies in change.
Clean your corner.
Then, and only then will guns, knives and even penises, cease to be used as offensive weapons and simply be the tools they were intended to be.