Mass Shootings: Guns, Games, or God?

Opinion

Why is it that every time there is a shooting in this country, my feeds get flooded by blame. All I see is article after article on who or what I should be blaming for the latest shooting. “It’s because of video game violence!” “No, it’s the gun control laws!” “It’s about religion.” “Blame the parents.” “Blame the government.” “Blame anybody who doesn’t agree with me.”

Ultimately, I understand that people want to find a cause. That way they can turn off the valve, right? Cut off the source, stop the flow, end the violence. I need to run to the hospital for the whiplash as I get dragged in one direction after another. Is there a real answer, no. Maybe that’s why we’re all so confused.

In a society so focused on the individual, so inundated by the idea of one above all, there is no room left for love. Hate crimes, hate groups, home-grown terrorism, it all points to one thing for me. Stop being so selfish. We have so many people hating so much about this country, its people, its leaders, and its laws that I find no surprise anymore in these shootings.

How is a man supposed to respond to the world that he has found. And yes, I say ‘man.’ In 2019 alone, it seems like every time I look at a shooting of more than five people, its a guy. No, it’s not 100 percent, but it is overwhelming. When I look around, I see people screaming at each other about beliefs. Take a moment and search it yourself, I can promise you right now, I can find at least 20 videos of people filming with their phones a confrontation with people protesting. At least 18 of those videos are going to end up in screaming match with one or, more likely, both sides not even listening to each other.

It’s all about me today. I am god. I am the truth. How dare you not agree with me?

And if you are reading this thinking, “Oh, you tell those leftist idiots! They never listen.” Then you are part of the problem.

Again, if you are reading this thinking, “It’s about time someone stood up to those Right Wing nutjobs.” Then you, too, are part of the problem.

People talk about how racism is flooding our nation hating on Hispanics, degrading Blacks, ignoring Whites, and despising anyone else. Heck, I’m probably racist for not listing every single oppressed group like LGBTQ. But this is exactly the problem. We all hate everything that isn’t all about ‘me.’

Let me tell you about something I read on Social Media recently. It was a story about a teacher educating students on the Salem Witch Trials. I read that this teacher decided to play a game with the students. The teacher said they were going to go to each student in the class and whisper to them if they were a witch or a normal citizen.

The teacher proceeded until every student had a designation and then told them that they were to collect into groups. The largest group of students that didn’t have a witch in the group would receive an ‘A’ for the day. The rest of the students not in that group would fail. Likewise, if there was a witch in every group, then the witches would receive the ‘A’ and the other students would fail.

Soon, several groups had formed but quickly began distrusting anyone not already in their group. The hate spread quickly as they shunned each other for the slightest hints of being a ‘witch.’

As the time limit neared its end and the groups were solidifying into solid “cliques” of ‘us vs them.’ The teacher called for the students attention. The time of judgment had come. The teacher then asked every student who they had designated a witch to raise their hand…

The problem was that nobody raised a hand.

The students then turned on the teacher saying that the teacher had done something wrong and the game wasn’t fair. The teacher then explained, “Do you think there was actual witches anywhere in Salem? All I did was release you to act on what you were told, the same they did in Salem.”

Just like the students in this story, I find it quite telling how quickly people in this country abandon humanity. They lose cooperation in favor of segregation. You’re a republican so everything you say is biased drivel that promotes racism and gun violence. You’re a Liberal, so you must only be out to subvert society and erode life.

I feel like the more young people I talk to tend to identify as a middle ground or third party political standing. Maybe it has something to do with our society being more interested in classifying, separating, and statistically quantifying people so much that they are willing to listen to anything with numbers instead of sitting down and taking the time to understand the intricacies of each other.

We are selfish. Instead of generalizing those “Millenials” as lazy, greedy kids who want everything for free, listen to the underlying concerns of wanting to make things like healthcare and education more accessible so that the entire country can be healthier and more educated. Instead of calling those Second Amendment advocates violent sociopaths, try to understand the point that guns mean protection from intruders and shooters, but also from a government that may subdue the population and abuse their right to govern.

Don’t get caught up in the screaming, but also don’t passively agree just to avoid an argument. I know people who will continue arguing a debate just to argue and anger the other person. Even if these people know they are wrong, they don’t care, they don’t want to lose. They are selfish people who don’t build to an answer, they build tension.

One should go into a debate absolutely convinced of their belief with examples to support them, but they should also be open to listening and understanding the other side of the debate. A debate is not a fight, it’s a learning experience. I argue and debate with people to test my thoughts and beliefs. I may still come out believing what I believe or I may come out with a changed mind, but I always learn something and add to my knowledge.

And on that note, don’t degrade and put down people who change their minds. Maybe if we talk to people, try to understand them, they wouldn’t feel so alone with us and violent against us. Maybe we could reduce the mass shootings or find an actual answer instead of just blaming video games or gun laws.

Stop fighting against other groups and start intermingling because, I promise you people, there are no “witches” in this game.

Author

Best of the Best: Shirah Commits to Georgia Tech

FCHS Baseball

The coaches at Fannin County High School have had the pleasure of coaching some talented individuals over the years.  Some athletes shine on the field, others in the weight room, and many are just great students.  That’s nothing new in a school that boasts some of the best teaching, coaching and administration the state has to offer.

What’s rare is finding an athlete that encompasses the “total package” – a great student, talented athlete, and a pristine example within the community.  A coach can go his entire career hoping to mold and mentor such an athlete.  Jon Ayers took over the baseball program at FCHS four years ago, and upon his arrival, he met Will Shirah; i.e. the total package.  The credit not only goes to Ayers and the FCHS coaching staff for polishing Shirah’s performance on the baseball field and in the classroom; but also to his parents, Cliff and Julie Shirah, who have raised more than a great baseball player.  They’ve raised a fine young man.

Will Shirah’s family and coaches surround him after signing his letter of intent to play baseball for Georgia Tech next year.

Academically speaking, Shirah’s awards nearly outweigh his baseball trophy case.  Ranked #1 out of 204 students, the Hugh O’Brien Leadership Award Winner has already earned 25 college semester hours as a Dual Enrollment student with a perfect (4.0) grade point average.  A member of the National Honor Society as a sophomore, a member of the FCHS Academic Team both his junior and senior years, and recognized with Student Athlete Community Service Network’s All Area Honors; it’s no surprise Shirah was Senior Superlative voted “Best All Around” student at Fannin County High School.

When Shirah isn’t throwing 90mph fastballs across the plate at the baseball diamond, he’s throwing mashed potatoes and dinner rolls on plates at the Feed Fannin Thanksgiving Dinner as a Charity Good Samaritan volunteer – much slower than the fastballs, thankfully.

Shirah also volunteers to help prepare bags of food, furniture and clothing for homeless and indigent families with his church group at the Copper Basin Crisis Center.  He’s a Fellowship of Christian Athletes event leader and actively works with multiple Christian outreach programs such as Fields of Faith.

He is a member of the United Community Bank Junior Board, along with 11 other seniors, which gives back the community by participating in monthly events such as Relay for Life and more.

Shirah’s work as a volunteer with the Fannin County High School Baseball Camp will be missed when he leaves for college, but he will undoubtedly also be missed at First Baptist Church where he regularly helps in the nursery.  His resume for community service serves as a role model and positive example for everyone around him, a trait his coaches and parents each shared with everyone in attendance at Shirah’s college commitment signing.

His grades are superior, his involvement in the community is respectable, and his attitude is humble; but his performance on the baseball field is phenomenal.

Shirah has lettered his freshman, sophomore and junior years at FCHS.  He was also named All Region First team (7-AAA) all three of those years.  He received the pitching award all three years, and he averaged 1.7 K’s per inning pitched with 190 K’s in 108 innings (Author’s note: In baseball scorekeeping, a swinging strikeout is recorded as a K).  He received the batting award as a freshman and a junior.

Shirah was recently named to the Preseason All State Region 7-AAA team and he was selected to be on the cover of the 2018 Georgia Dugout Club Preview Magazine.  He’s also been named to the Rawlings PG National Preseason Underclass All America Team for the third year in a row.  In 2016 and 2017, he made the All-Tournament team in the 17u and 18u World Championships.

Shirah was named to the Top Prospect Team at PG Jr Nationals and Nationals (an invitation only event held in Ft Myers, FL for the nation’s top rising high school junior and senior baseball players).

Truth be told, there are too many accomplishments in Shirah’s high school baseball career to list them all.  His ability to play the game has garnered national attention – including baseball recruitment (and/or offers) from Stanford, Notre Dame, Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Louisville, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Harvard, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, and last but not least: Georgia Tech.

On Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 3:45pm, Will Shirah thanked his coaches, parents, friends and teammates.  He gave credit to his faith and everyone who supports him as he put pen to paper and signed his commitment to play baseball for the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets.  We look forward to following his continued success in the future.

Author

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