As I watch the media coverage of today’s national school walkout I can’t help but wonder, does anyone realize we’re all fighting for the same thing in very different ways?

Children across the country walked out of their classes at for 17 minutes at 10 am today, some urged by parents, teachers and entire school districts. Both as a moment of silence for those lost in the recent shooting and as a call for gun control. I can’t blame children for being upset, who wants to worry about being slaughtered in school? How many felt pressured into it?

Whether for or against gun control we’ve allowed ourselves to become lost in the media and our emotions. We find ourselves fighting on social media, both sides often filled with rage and never willing to back down, yet we seemingly never realize at the end of the day we’re all fighting for the same thing: safety. Safety for our families, children, and community as a whole. We get bogged down trying to argue for or against guns and don’t stop to realize the people we’re arguing against just want to feel safe in a different way than ourselves. Unfortunately, that “safety” we call for often becomes nothing more than a veil we hide behind, telling ourselves that if we control the devices used by evil people, we’ll somehow stop evil.

Every sane American wants our schools to be safe. None of us want to be murdered nor see children slaughtered. We must first stop coming from a place of emotion, it clouds our judgment and prevents us from making rational decisions. We must use logic and stop pointing the finger at one another. Those that call for gun control, as well as those who support their second amendment rights publicly, are likely NOT the people who will be responsible for the next mass murder. Most fighting for gun control don’t want to strip away your freedoms; they simply believe taking guns out of the hands of criminals and mentally unstable will protect them, and they’re right. If we could snap our fingers and make that happen, they would be safer.

Those that fight against gun control don’t want to murder you and your family; they want guns to protect their family. We walk amongst millions of Americans on a daily basis that own firearms, there’s a good chance you’ve walked by a gun owner every single day of your life yet none of them have shot you. Those people don’t have ill intentions; they are the majority. We can’t focus on the actions of the minority and say that because they do something terrible everyone else will, that just doesn’t make sense. Understand that some men rape helpless women, that does not mean all men are rapists. Quite the contrary, most would happily stand up for a rape victim. Every person on this planet makes choices; those choices are what define who we are, we can choose to be good, or we choose to be evil.

We need to understand evil will never be eliminated no matter what laws we create, guns we ban, or guards we place in schools. Take a moment to swallow a very tough pill and accept the fact that people will continue to kill others no matter what we do. People have been killing each other since the beginning of time; history is fraught with examples of slaughter, slavery, and torture. Far before the invention of firearms people have been murdered with arrows, canons, bombs, swords, knives, stones, hands and more.

Not everyone is dealt a fair hand; I’m not advocating for the actions of murderers, I stand firmly against them. I’m merely pointing out each of us has an effect on others, and I’d be willing to bet if everyone magically treated one another with decency and respected the number of murders would decrease. That may seem like a fantasy land, but we can ALL do our part. We’ll never be able to account for the number of crimes not committed, that doesn’t mean crimes aren’t avoided.

Think back on the events that have taken place in your own life, at 32 years old, and I can vividly remember the day 9/11 happened. Men used box cutters to hijack and kill thousands of innocent Americans. We as a people united as Americans and stood up against terrorism, not the tools the cowards used to kill us. In the years since I’ve seen bombs, arson, chemicals, knives, guns, cars, trucks, anthrax and much more used to kill. These horror stories surround us on a daily basis; it’s a tragedy yet we never blame the tool used to commit the crime unless that tool is a gun. I’ve often wondered why that is; it seems it is the one thing romanticized by the media. I’m not saying you shouldn’t take your stand against something you’re against, merely that we remain consistent across the board.  When people are murdered by a rented Home Depot truck we’re not up in arms against trucks, when a student brought a bomb to school last week nobody called for “bomb control”.  For some reason we remain logical in those situations and realize those are evil people breaking laws attempting to kill people and we blame them for the crime as we should.

We don’t need more laws; we need fewer criminals.

We need our current laws enforced; we need our governmental agencies to stop making mistakes allowing our existing laws to be circumvented. According to the New York Times and many other sources the last two mass murders have been perpetrated by individuals the government knew should not be in possession of guns (Texas Church Massacre, Florida School Shooting) yet nothing was done.

Let’s open a dialogue between people, let’s think things through. Let’s not make laws with no merit, never forget the criminals we seek to protect ourselves from do not obey the laws in which we endeavor to create. Murder always has and will always remain illegal, yet our prisons are full of murderers. We’ve had a “war on drugs” since 1971, yet drugs are prevalent. This comes back to choices, we choose our actions and need to accept responsibility for them. We raise our children and the values we instill in them often shape the person they become. It doesn’t seem long ago that I was in high school yet things were different, we weren’t submerged in social media, staring at phones or ingesting Tide Pods. Sure, there were plenty of problems but as time goes on people are losing touch with reality more and more. Our phones and social platforms have become our lives, and we’re losing our connection with other human beings. Get outside, take your children for a walk, donate your time, help someone in need, do a good deed. You have the power to positively influence someone’s life, the power to save someone’s life and ultimately the power to take someone’s life.

Choose to be a better person in whatever respect that may be, we as a people do have the power to help one another, sadly we often don’t. Smile at a stranger, offer assistance, you never know the profound impact you may have on someone’s life by merely acknowledging their existence. Teach your children right and wrong with conviction, teach them to accept others and to be kind. Talk to them, listen to them, understand their issues, don’t turn a blind eye. Show your children the love and respect they deserve, so they learn to do the same for others. We’re all in this together.

Let’s work together to find common ground, there are things we can do to stop these issues, but we must first come together as Americans and realize we all just want to feel safe.

We’re not that far apart.