Advice: In gun debate, we are missing the real issues


I understand our youth’s protesting for demand of safer schools in our communities. School is, after all, supposed to be a safe place for our children and these acts of violence traumatize their experience in education.

But here is the problem. We blame the cause of the shootings to guns, lack of gun laws (which do exist), the NRA and lawmakers.

No one is talking about the kid who actually used the gun. No one is talking about why young people today decide to commit these horrendous acts.

There are serious issues causing these incidents to happen that have nothing to do with gun laws.

This isn’t about guns.

This is about the young person who believes shooting his classmates is the solution.

Our society is changing; there is a lack of connection between parents and their children, students and their classmates, roommates, neighbors and one another.

Teens are more depressed than ever. According to, “Every 100 minutes a teen takes his own life. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15-24.”

The real issue is that young people feel lost and they are growing up with a lack of guidance and sense of direction.

It’s the society we are living in, the anger, the confusion, and the lack of connection with humanity that is to blame.

Some experts believe we have raised teens that have unrealistic expectations, so they lack coping skills needed to survive in tense times.

Parents are told not to intrude on their child’s privacy. This means they don’t question the lack of, or strange, friends their child has.

They might notice their child acting different, dressing different and spending long hours locked up in their room, but they don’t question it. This would mean “judging” their child.

To be a good parent today you must accept everything, even if it goes against your values, because if you speak up you are a bad person.

School administrators have to tiptoe around undisciplined children and parents who cannot be told their child is anything less than perfect.

Society has created the problems we are having. Children of this generation are being forced to grow up before they are ready.

“I think modern lifestyle’s—lack of community and family support,” writes Therese J. Borchard, author of Beyond Blue, “less exercise, no casual and unstructured technology-free play, less sunshine and more computer— factors into the equation.”

In our quest to be cool and politically correct we have failed our kids.

Guns have existed for generations. They are not the problem. The problem is the teen that feels that the only way to get attention is by killing his classmates.

The lack of compassion and concern some youth have for the suffering of others is where we should concern ourselves.

Young people are crying out for help and no one is noticing. Why are we not talking about this?

Changing gun laws is not going to change anything, but raising children that would never pick up a gun and shoot a human being is.

If you really want to make a change in society, take care of your children. And I don’t mean just feed, bathe and take them on vacation.

Make your children your priority. Set rules and curfews and ground them every once in awhile.

Make sure they are not only physically, but also mentally healthy and that they feel confident they can always go to you when problems arise.

Admitting there is a problem is never easy, but the alternative is teens and young adults going off the deep end.

Our youth are missing out on basic family morals — most important, having parents who will actually parent them.

I cannot imagine the pain these families are going through. As a mother and a grandmother my heart breaks for these families.

We need to come together as a community and a nation to pay more attention to our youth. There is a negative undercurrent that is affecting them and we must make changes to ensure we keep them safe.

Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily and on Instagram @mlsalcines. You can also contact her on her blog,