Another week, another mass murder. We all feel it again. It's impossible to pretend these unthinkable acts are not happening in our country. We realize it could have just as easily been our community. One massive violent act seems to beget another and another.
As the shock starts to wear off and our short little spans of attention are directed elsewhere, the buck passing and arguing begin. "Guns kill people." "No, people kill people." "No, people with guns kill people." "No, mentally unstable people with guns kill people." "Etc., etc., etc." And the special interest messaging thinly veiled as news begins to surround and even drown out the tragic stories of these youngsters, their teachers, the families, and community so deeply and permanently impacted by this massive tragedy.
Who is responsible? We know who committed the violence. Is he responsible? An even more difficult question … Who is accountable? And, who will be accountable to prevent these kinds of senseless acts of terror in the future? Hint: Not They. Expecting "Them" or "They" to improve this situation is just another form of passing the buck. We all have a stake in this.
MS Douglas Assistant Football Coach, Aaron Feis, did not pass the buck. Scott Beigel, Geography Teacher, did not pass the buck. Chris Hixon, Athletic Director, did not pass the buck. These professionals accepted 100 percent accountability for the safety of their students, under the worst of circumstances. These amazing people did not wait for "They" to show up.
What might we learn about professionalism and personal accountability from these courageous educators? How might we honor their memory by practicing a greater level of personal accountability ourselves?
Authors B.J. Gallagher and Steve Ventura wrote a great little book about the unstoppable power of personal accountability entitled: Who Are "They" Anyway? The authors share a top ten list of thoughts practiced by those who take personal accountability seriously.
10. “I won't wait for others to take the first step.”
9. “If it is to be, it's up to me.”
8. “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
7. “Let me take a shot at it.”
6. “I will not pass the buck.”
5. “You can count on me.”
4. “It is my job.”
3. "Just do it!”
2. “I will.”