The Hairbag Poet-Why?

Hi and welcome to my Friday series The Hairbag Poet.

In the blogging world Fridays are known as Poetry Friday.  You can read about Poetry Friday here. I will plan on posting The Hairbag Poet each Friday.

You can read about the history of this series here.

Today’s poem is going to tackle the very difficult topic of school shootings. I have three children: one in high school, one in middle school, and one in elementary school. They all practice lockdown drills.  This has become matter of fact for them.  There are days I sit at the bus stop and watch my children get on the bus and wonder if today is the last day I will see them.  My kids will never know anything different.

As a healthcare professional I am appalled at the way this country handles, and has handled, mental health issues. Starting as far back as the mid 1950s deinstitutionalization began with the introduction of Thorazine, and the belief that people with mental illness could be managed on an outpatient basis, despite the fact that there was no system, or funding, ensuring successful outpatient follow up (, 2005).

Now in 2018 we find ourselves having a mental health crisis and wonder why?  What are we missing?  Why do children want to kill?  Why are the signs of mental illness ignored? Why are semi-automatic weapons of war easily accessible to the general public, and in particular to teenagers? What is the responsibility of primary care physicians/pediatricians in recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness? What is law enforcements responsibility? When will enough be enough?

In my post today the picture that was sent to me by my brother Donald had an interesting caption. He wrote, “As promised the aliens returned with the wand of knowledge…or fill in your thoughts.” My thoughts got me to thinking about how alien school shootings are to me. It’s not how I grew up. I love the idea of a wand of knowledge, or perhaps a wand of peace. I’m realistic enough to know life doesn’t work that way.

Young children’s brains are equally alien to the idea that they too could be a victim of gun violence in school, but it doesn’t mean they don’t think about it, or have an opinion, or ask why. My poem today is written from their perspective.

I hope you enjoy these posts. Thanks for stopping by and reading, and please feel free to post your own poetry in the comments if you feel inspired by the photographs. I always love reading other peoples perspective on “art”.


The Hairbag Poet

Photo by Donald, who says, “As promised the aliens return with the wand of knowledge or fill in your thoughts…”


Why do we have to duck and hide,

and lock our doors

so terrified?

Why has school become so scary?

Teacher says, “It’s cautionary.”

I say, “Can’t we all be friends?”

Is this too hard to comprehend?

Help the kids with angry souls,

and implement safe gun control!


4 thoughts on “The Hairbag Poet-Why?

  1. Well said. Everything. Much of it begins at home too. We need to continuously role model good behavior and empathy for our kids. That sets the seeds of child development from the very beginning. It’s heartbreaking that our kids have to go to school in such an environment where shooting drills have become the norm.

    • Carrie I’m so glad you commented on this, you are absolutely right about role modeling good behavior at home, but what about those children who are clearly mentally ill? What is your opinion as a pediatrician when the parents are lacking the skills to recognize mental illness vs. bad behavior? Do you think an annual mental health physical along with a general annual physical would help to decrease the stigma of mental health exams and catch at risk kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

      • Unfortunately, a single visit a year offers limited time for mental health evaluation for primary care doctors, especially since there are so many other topics to cover. Plus, the more at-risk kids are usually not the ones coming into the office regularly. But certainly screening should be done, and if an at-risk individual is found, follow-up and referrals for help are critical. Unfortunately, coverage for mental health remains suboptimal. More funding is hugely needed.

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