Greetings and Salutations;
This thought was generated by a FB article, about the Parkland shooting. Of course this is the topic of focus just now, as it seems to have generated a LOT of discussion. This reference was posted in the thread, and seemed to get a lot of agreement.
I agree with the fact that the article, as far as it goes, has merit. However, as many such articles do, it ignores the human element. While I agree that classical mental illness is not a cause for mass shootings, I maintain that the people that fall into this madness have a history that has warped their minds to the point where this action seems to be the best alternative.
For example, bullying; After enough bullying, a person may get to a point that they choose violence as an answer. Sometimes, that violence is expressed as suicide or self-harm. Sometimes, it is expressed by showing up at school, and shooting folks.
Then, there is the Evil of Racism and White Supremacy. People who have years of indoctrination in this twisted idea tend to both denigrate others as being “not human”, and, have a great fear that these “Animals” are taking over and destroying their world. I have come to the conclusion that some of this fear is exacerbated by the fact that the Supremacist fears that the people of color will treat HIM as he has treated them in the past. This same issue often drives religious fanatics and other groups who are intolerant of differences, and fearful that their reality will change.
A common factor with all these people is that, as they get closer and closer to actual violence, they start leaving red flags, warning of their coming actions scattered all over the place. Very often, these warnings are ignored by the friends and family around them. There are many reasons for this, ranging from apathy, to a delusion that “he is not really like that”, to “I don’t want to get involved” this allows the violence to fester until it erupts.
I suggest that, if some things were changed in Society, we would see a significant change in the frequency of these shootings.
I would like to see significant changes in the Mental Health Care system in America. The erosion of this service started with Reagan, who stated defunding the programs. I would like to see the system rebuilt, the number of therapists increased, and facilities for long-term care re-created. I would also like to see a large increase in the accessibility of such health care. services,
As of right now, the only way for a person to get long-term help, is for it to become a criminal matter. I would like to see this change, so that it remains a civil matter.
I would like to see society as a whole become more willing to intervene. When we see a person planting red flags, we should be willing to take action to warn the system that there is trouble here. As a part of that, per #1, we need to have a a point where dangerous behavior can be reported and dealt with.
As the Parkland shooting has demonstrated, the authorities need to be quite a bit better at responding to reports of troubled individuals. The reports coming now now indicate that there had been increasingly worrisome reports over an 8 year period, yet nothing had been done.
the previous points are what Society as whole could do. However, there is more there that will help. Within the family, I wish parents would do a better job of teaching tolerance, patience and respect for all life. However, the best that Society can do is to change the school system a bit. this change would add classes teaching these values.
One of my issues with today’s society is that too many parents want to be their child’s “Buddy”…their best friend. So, they not only walk away from being the “Bad Guy” who has to tell the kid “no”, or force them to be disciplined, but, they often say that they do not want to inflict their values on their kids…so they are going to let them make up their OWN minds, when they grow up. My problem with this approach is that children are like a dry sponge when they are born. They have NO rules for life, except those instinctive ones that hopefully will help them survive to be adults. It is the parent’s job to give that sponge values to absorb and become part of that child’s basic rules for living. So, as I mentioned before, parents should teach their kids about ethics, respect for others, polite behavior, tolerance and to abhor violence as an answer to problems. IF the parents do not do this…that sponge will absorb values on its own. Where will those values come from? The media – Movies, Television, Video games and the like. One of the common themes in all these sources is that violence is a great way to deal with a situation, and, life is cheap. So, urging parents to really look at the lessons they are teaching their children, and reminding them that kids learn more from our actions than our words, would be a helpful thing in this world.
I realize this is a skeleton of a plan, and likely has problems, but, it is a starting point.
God Help Us All
Bee Man Dave