Resignation is the acceptance of something that is undesirable but inevitable.
Here are some synonyms for resignation: compliance, acquiescence, fatalism and passivity. These are terrible words.
I’ve read as much as I can concerning the killing of 17 students and teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I’ve read opinion pieces and watched video commentary about gun control, the 2nd Amendment and mental health. One of the most fascinating but stunning and disturbing articles that I’ve read was published in the Washington Post on February 19, 2018. It detailed the many years and legion of people who recognized something about Nikolas Cruz that needed attention and help. It listed the multiple interventions.
How could Nikolas have missed the necessary care, aid and love that he required despite so many educators, social workers, administrators, people of various ages having responded in some way to his need for help?
I doubt anyone knows the answer to that question with certainty.
I do know that in the course of over fifteen years of work volunteering as best I can in drug and alcohol abuse prevention, and over 26 years practicing law in the Vortex of Life:
one of our greatest enemies is resignation.
We resign ourselves. We yield. We pay lip service. We dial it in. People from all walks of life resign themselves in the face of compelling, urgent need, every day. People come to us in our practice handcuffed by their resignation. We fight it.
Millions of people have resigned themselves to our country’s gun-related violence, our country’s mental health problem, our country’s drug and alcohol abuse problem.
Some people along the timeline of Nikloas’ life resigned themselves to the concerns, issues and worries that colored the life of Nikolas. Some people didn’t. And if all of us were to practice vigilance and fight resignation, there will still be people who are missed.
The answer that will reveal itself over a generation isn’t simple. It’s not a matter of passing laws about guns or passing laws about mental health.
It is a matter of paying attention, caring, stepping outside of our individual selves and acting on a continual, personal level.
It requires rejecting violence and the trivialization of human life.
Waiting for schools, boards of education, administrators, civil servants and government to fix things is a lazy, self-indulgent, self-deceptive abdication. It’s resignation.
The high school students in Florida may be mobilizing. They are intensely emotional and angry. Good. It will take more than anger and emotion, though. It will take more than thrown-together legislation for the sake of reelection. The change happens in our homes; across our kitchen tables and in our neighborhoods, and it mandates that we reject resignation in every one of its forms.