Updated: Aug 6, 2019
Yes, it happened again and it saddens my heart deeply. This time twice in a row within 24 hrs. Two mass killings here in the US, both with many deaths and many injured. 'Why?' is the question on many minds.
The answer might seem easy for some. 'Guns!' many may say. Yes, in a lot of cases, if guns were not as easy to get, some or many of these mass killings may not happen. - If guns were locked up securely at home, comprehensive background checks and time allowed for them, as well as certain automatic guns not being available at all to the ordinary buyer. These all would no doubt have contributed to a decrease in these events or a decrease in the number of casualties in these events.
Others might say it’s racism, bigotry, prejudice, divisiveness of the country, hatred, or violent ideology. I think in our mass shootings, one or many of these have definitely played a part.
We could and should take care of the gun problem, making it more difficult for people to readily and quickly get their hands on guns. But I fear that this will not solve the issue. It may, after several years, reduce the amount of mass killings, but the guns are not the issue.
The issue is not even the outright racism and prejudice. What causes an individual to skew the view of the world so much that they lose all respect for human life, even their own in many cases? I suggest that the main cause is mental illness. In most cases of school shootings, I was told that most of the students who carried out the atrocities had been on antidepressants or under therapeutic care. Even with the non-school shootings, a good deal of the adults were seen as loners who may have suffered from some sort and some level of mental illness.
In the school related events, many of the perpetrators had been found to be victims of bullying. Since Columbine there has been much focus on bullying and since the advent of the internet, bullying has taken on a much different appearance, and can be as, if not even more severe, than traditional school bullying. Bullying by itself, over a period of time, can do incredible damage to one’s self-esteem, and therefore create feelings of depression and even suicide. Add to that the incredible pressures on teens and young adults to perform up to par in academics, sports, fashion, social arenas, and personal relationships, this can break even some of the most seemingly stable people.
Of course, it’s not just schools and unstable students and it’s not just today’s political climate. Some of you who are a bit older may remember the term ‘going postal’. That came from a series of post office shootings in the 80’s. There have been many workplace shootings (I know, the word ‘shootings’ again), long before we may have re-kindled hatred for this or that. These were disgruntled employees seething with their own hatred of a boss or the company. Enough to want to end people’s lives. I seriously doubt that there was not already some sort of mental illness, such as depression setting in for those people as well.
In the 30’s when scores of people lost everything when the stock market crashed, there wasn’t a lot of murders. There was a lot of suicides when people could not handle having lost everything. What has changed since then?
I don’t have the answers to this, nor do I think anyone does. But I know we have to start somewhere. As mentioned, though I personally I personally am not a fan of making guns illegal altogether (at this point in our society, I don’t think it could happen), I am a fan of making them harder to get with comprehensive background checks and allowing to a waiting period. (Cool down in cases of people angry in the moment) As mentioned I don’t think this solves the bigger issue. We’ve seen mass murders with weapons other than guns, like cars or trucks, knives, and even explosives. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that controlling guns is the answer.
I think programs to build up self-esteem in our children in the schools would be very helpful. Someone with a healthy self-esteem does not take the taunting of a bully to heart, does not think that a failure of a class is a failure of themselves, and does not think that a loss of a job is the end of the world. Yes, I do believe this is important for all future generations.
I also think that there should be more support and help for those identified with mental illnesses and realize that it is the behavior of the illness and not the person. We sometimes unknowingly add to the frustrations and the hurt of these people, which eventually becomes overwhelming.
I saw a meme somewhere which simply said, “Try to be aware that you have no idea what the person in front of you has gone through.” I think today’s society lacks a form of empathy for those who struggle with mental and behavioral issues.
I practice a form of forgiveness and clearing which basically makes me more aware of the times I become judgmental or act in a negative way towards others. It gives me the ability to ask God for forgiveness to to clear the feelings and judgments from me. Perhaps this has saved many a person from being mistreated or at least thought less of by me. I’d love to see many people strive to do the same.
There always will be some distorted ideology that will attract and seduce some who are looking to belong. this happens in all shapes and forms and typically is not too the extreme, but the extreme does exist. I know that personally, living outside of Boston during the Boston Marathon bombings. And of course, the whole world experienced 9-11. Don't be fooled this ideology is just of a certain type of religion. We often forget one of the worst domestic terrorists events in US history - the Oklahoma Bombing.
Where people think that innocent people must die, to make a point, to satisfy their own feelings or beliefs is incomprehensible to me and I hope to anyone reading this. if you think about it, each and every mass killing event was just that. Some people were at such a low level of their existence somehow believe that it was right or it would help do kill others. Others, blindly believed it was the right thing to do.
As for the victims of these atrocities, it is so, so sad. These times do give us a chance to reflect, as I have done here, but it also gives us a chance to pray. Whether you are religious or not. Whether you are a believer in a higher being or not, it does not matter. What matters is the positive intention that stated. There have been many scientific studies on intentions. Besides, a positive intention in your head at times like these, have to be better than letting a negative thought swirl around, bringing up emotions such as anger, sadness or fear.
May the victims and their families find the love of community to carry them through these horrific events. May we all find peace within ourselves, and share this with others when needed.