It’s happening way too often.
“It” would be hearing of some unspeakable act being carried out, which shocks a nation, fills up the news for a week or two, brings out extreme views polarizing Facebook friend against Facebook friend…and then, we all settle back into our own normal routine. Nothing solved, zero learned, until the next time it happens.
Growing up, I remember being stunned to hear about the JFK assassination….then Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy. Every now and then, a mass murderer would surface or a gunman in a tower plucking off 7 people. Then 9-11 took us to a whole new level of carnage that deranged minds can cause. Most recently, we were jolted by the unspeakable act of someone with mental problems taking weapons into a school and killing 26 people, mostly children. Norway had a killer running around last year with a rifle, shooting kids with over 60 fatalities. Have you already moved on from the nut job that shot up an Aurora, Colorado movie theater last summer?
People want to point fingers at something, say that particular thing is to blame and then, move on with their lives. I’m extremely tired of that response. We’re way past “just making a comment and moving on with our lives.” I’ve heard everything from “we need more gun control” to “it’s unavoidable–there’s nothing we can do about it.”
We are dealing with multiple issues here.
Gun Control–Stricter controls, please. If you feel you need a gun in the house for protection—–“A” gun–then you take on complete responsibility for that weapon. It needs to be in a secure location and you are legally attached to that weapon. If someone steals it and commits a crime, then you’re a partner in that crime if it was stolen and you didn’t report it. If you truly need the weapon for yourself, no one else needs to know of its existence and it needs to be locked up for your own personal use. Our most recent mass killer took his mom’s weapons she purchased to protect herself (three? You needed three to do that?) Why would someone living in a home with a person battling mental problems need three weapons in the house? Legally, she has the right–but is everyone else paying the price for her having that right?
Mental Illness–It’s not a glamorous disease or problem, nor one with a simple solution. This article really drives home the fact that there are more “Adam” situations out there and they need help. But furthermore, parents facing this battle need to acknowledge they’ve got a different set of rules. Movies and video games are constantly redefining violence. Most people have the mental capacity to separate Hollywood or Video Game violence from reality. But to allow someone with mental problems to play a game where you run around shooting people just sets the stage for failure.
Stop glorifying the killers–Committing mass murder shouldn’t be a ticket to having your life story and your first, middle & last name, showing up all over the news. Last week’s horrific killings at an elementary school right before Christmas made me feel sick. As a parent, the first place you always go is, “What if that were my kid’s school? My child?” and then you stop, because you don’t want to even imagine that. Shots of grieving parents after hearing the news all over TV are just wrong. One former news reporter friend wrote, “This is why I got out of the business.” Make the identity of the accused killer public records for those who need to know, but stop showing their latest goofy high school picture and trying to humanize this sad example of humanity on every newscast.
Religion to the Rescue–One of the thoughts filling Facebook posts these days is that this never would have happened if God was in the schools. I understand where you’re going, but that’s a little naïve. How’d that work out in the Catholic Church or the Boy Scouts? If you are truly a believer, you know that God is everywhere. What’s missing is faith and that comes from parents, not from schools. Anyone who’s ever spent time in a classroom knows that these kids come from a variety of parenting skills–some raised with social skills and a healthy upbringing, while others are dumped off at school from broken homes, with the attitude that “they’re the school’s problem.” The old cliché is true: anyone who says that God is missing in schools has never prayed before a big test.
I don’t have the answers, but notice I used the plural of that word. It’s not one thing. The Connecticut shootings are merely another symptom of our problems. There’s a lot that needs to be taken on, but our first step is acknowledging that we have serious problems. We need fixing. We need help and I’m really tired of hearing about yet another tragedy of this magnitude. Let’s do whatever we can to make this the last one, rather than just the latest one.