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Dear Editor:

There are times in our history, whether personal, community or national, when we come up against difficult situations that require asking some hard questions in order to find beneficial solutions. After reading the article in the March 14 edition of The SUN about arming school officials, it would appear we in Pagosa Springs have entered one of those times. The first question is, “Are guns the real problem with kids killing kids and, secondly, are guns the real solution?” It would seem our focus is a bit misdirected if we feel guns are at the root of this problem.

Perhaps the real problem has nothing to do with guns, but with the psyche of a person that feels so little self-value, so alone, unhappy, hopeless, angry and frustrated in their world that they want to take people’s lives, including their own. Borrowing from a song by The Black Eyed Peas, the core question to be asking ourselves is “Where is the Love?,” not, “how many more guns do we need to control, prevent or fix this problem?” This problem, like most, stems from a total lack of love for self or others, for a person that loves and values themself, values others, and would never think to commit such acts of hopeless desperation. Let’s face it, folks, the bottom line is it doesn’t matter if you are 15 or 50, all any of us really wants in this world is to love, to be loved and to be accepted for who we really are. The solution therefore lies not in more guns or more guards, but in more authentic, unconditional love.

One cannot help but ponder how we have come to this place where we forbid any type of “spiritual” teaching in our schools, but we will not only consider, but implement, having metal detectors, lockdowns, drug dogs and armed guards patrolling them. We worry about the drugs, alcohol, guns, violent games and negative television that our kids have access to, fearfully focusing on those things, when perhaps the bigger problem is what they don’t have access to, the self-empowerment that comes from being taught to love themselves, to value humanity, to have compassion and kindness for one another, and to live in cooperation, community, and connection for a happy, healthy, abundant life? Perhaps it would better serve us all to focus on the latter.

Positive psychology points us to the fact that focusing on and promoting positive behavior results in more positive behavior. Conversely, it shows us that focusing on the negative or the problem, results in more of the same. Perhaps our time has come to shift our thinking, focus on what really matters and create an atmosphere in our schools and our community that begs not the question “where is the love?” but boldly defines Pagosa Springs as the place “Where the Love is!”

Andrea Lyle

This story was posted on April 4, 2013.