When my kids started to attend middle school they got a dose of the real world we live in. They were not allowed to carry their backpacks in the hallways. All bags were to remain in their lockers. The rule seemed crazy to my kids who wanted to carry their new backpacks that could fit their overabundance of books and folders needed for each class. However, several students in the past were found with drugs and other prohibited items so to make the school safer, everyone was now required to keep their bags in the lockers. My daughter stated my own opinion on this matter. She said, “Why am I punished and forced to carry all my books around school because some other kids couldn’t follow the rules?” My reaction was, “Welcome to the real world!”
Have you ever noticed that the country we live in is very much like middle school? I am reminded of this every time I go through an airport. I recently had to watch an elderly woman at the security gate go through a pat down because the metal detector went off. I kept thinking to myself that poor woman has no choice but to oblige in order to get where she wants to go. I unfortunately go through that embarrassing experience of a pat down because I refuse to go through the body image scanner. We all put ourselves in this awful, control- like experience because of the tragedy of September 11th. It is all about keeping us safe, right?
Now I think about the recent school tragedies and now the issue of gun control. It is heart breaking to see such evil in our world. I agree that something has to be done but why does it always have to be at the expense of our freedom? Why does it have to ultimately be about more laws or regulations? We are becoming a nation of control freaks. When tragedies happen or people break the rules, in sometimes awful ways, we automatically turn to control. We as citizens give up our rights, so willingly and without a thought, in the name of protection and safety. We punish society as a whole for the few who refused to follow the rules or who took advantage in tragic ways.
This control permeates to all areas of our lives. We are letting people decide what we can and cannot eat. What kind of gas to put in our cars. What kind of light bulbs to light our homes. If you haven’t noticed we are becoming a bunch of control freaks and it doesn’t matter what side of the political aisle you come from. Both sides have made decisions of control that have diminished our freedoms. It is as if we don’t understand the true value of liberty and our Constitution. My biggest fear is that our willingness to let safety and protection overshadow our freedom will ultimately result in an unrecognizable United States of America. A country where we are no longer free to live how we want and make our own choices but are forced to live under the banner of control because we willingly gave up our rights because of fear.
No one can control the evil in this world. However, we can control the right to being a free society. I want my kids to be able to go to school and realize you are punished for breaking the rules not for being among the rule breakers. When are we going to stop the mentality of control? I am glad schools put in measures of safety and protection to keep our kids safe. However, it has to be done with an atmosphere of freedom where we let our children prove their sense of responsibility before an environment of strict rules and regulations. Our schools are simply following the lead of our nation and our government. Do we really want our next generation to not even recognize what freedom looks like all because we let fear take control?
“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” Ronald Reagan