x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

The Ali Column: Shooting is wake-up call for our welfare

Why recent tragedies remind us of our responsibility to our own and future generations.

Listening to the news about the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that left 28 people dead, or the knife attack at a school in Hong Kong is heartbreaking. Such tragedies mostly affect the families of the victims but also every parent and every person who has a heart for children, like me. Moreover, it is always a wake-up call because it reminds us of how vulnerable children are, and how much they need to be protected in this "crazy" adult world we are living in.

The questions are: how can we stop such cruelty? What else can we possibly learn from these incidents? Without a doubt, child protection is a serious global matter: whether children go to school in the USA, are forced to live on the streets in Mexico, live in a war zone such as Gaza or work in a factory in China. Their life circumstances depend a great deal on our responsibility as adults to take care of them and what we do to help them receive this protection - especially in terms of health, education or safety.

Now, the debates on US gun laws are being reinforced, which is good. However, in my opinion, only talking about it while continuing to allow gun possession doesn't solve the problem. So, of course, the laws should be stricter or at least public awareness that guns are being used for the wrong reasons has to exist in order for change to happen.

I just don't understand why something bad has to happen for people to realise something has to change. Weren't there already enough similar incidents? Don't children have the right to live in a safe place? Indeed, they do. It might be impossible to predict if someone who intends to hurt children plans to run amok somewhere. However, if a country's laws aren't strict enough, they can contribute to these things happening.

In countries that have stricter gun laws, such as China, the crime rate isn't nearly as high as in the United States.

We clearly need to protect children from all the dangers lurking out there. We might not be able to stop the violence completely, but we can continue to spread the message that gun laws need to change. It is scary how the children of today are growing up in a world that lacks protection. A parent or family member can't protect a child from everything. Local and world-wide government officials can play a major role by reconsidering their policies, double-checking the outcomes and changing them accordingly to ensure child protection. I hope that we all can learn from such tragedies, reflect on their consequences for the innocent victims, take our responsibility as adults more seriously and try our best to improve the situation so that we can all live in a safer place than it is now.