Monday, December 17, 2012

Stop Pointing the Finger

An event like the recent shooting in Connecticut will stir emotion from the coldest heart. I have seen the argument begin with gun control, shift to mental health issues, and land with conspiracy theory. And it all comes back to the fact that, as human beings, we need to justify what happened, even if it's on the most base level. We have a need to try and make sense of the senseless. And, the problem is, no matter how many details come out, we'll never truly understand what led a young man in Connecticut to gun down his mother and then proceed to an Elementary school and kill small children and educators.
People want to blame guns. Being a liberal, I'll admit to leaning in favor of gun control myself. I understand that guns don't kill people, people kill people. Yadda, yadda, yadda. I understand your desire to hunt. I understand your desire to protect your family. But, you know what? There needs to be a limit. I don't care who you are. You shouldn't be able to walk into a store, or shop online, and purchase a fully automatic weapon. Bambi isn't that fast/stealthy/monstrous. You don't live in a war zone. And collecting? I don't know. I think collecting anything in such a quantity that it could be used to wipe out a battalion is a tad excessive, to say the least. And don't give me that bullshit about the Second Amendment being in place in case the government needs to be put in its place. No matter how bad you think it is, we don't live in that country. Get over it.
People want to blame mental health care, or the lack of ease with which it can be obtained. To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about that topic. Mental health is a slippery slope at best. It may seem obvious when someone has a history of mental health problems, but it's not something that can be "seen" in most cases. And, even if it is something that’s being dealt with, as in the case of the Colorado movie theater shooter, there’s nothing to stop the individual from taking action. Mental health care is only going to work if it’s being applied to an individual who is willing to be cared for. Its usefulness ends the moment care stops.
People want to blame the media. Well, they want to blame the media for a lot of things. But, we only have ourselves to blame for that one. The media simply feeds the beast what it wants. If we didn't want interviews with 6-year-olds about the horror of what happened, they wouldn't occur. If the websites that had these stories were getting no hits, you wouldn't be reading about how frightened little Tommy was, or how one child was "heroic," or the gorier details of how the six kids who ran got mown down. But, we want to know the details, don't we? We can't help but try and look into death's eyes and see ourselves or our children. What would we have done in their shoes? Would we have thrown ourselves in harm’s way? Or prayed for divine intervention? Or stared in the face of a crying child and told them it would be alright even when we knew it would not? And, for those of us with children, the toughest questions of all: What would your son or daughter have done? What if that was your son or daughter? That is when I have to turn it off, for I have no desire to imagine the possibility. So, blame the media all you want, but they are only giving you what you want, what you've asked for. We cry out "Why?" and they answer. Personally, I agree, in theory, with keeping the killer's name out of the media. I haven't mentioned it here because I don't want to contribute to his historical record. A part of me does believe that these people do such heinous things in order to leave a mark on a world that would have otherwise forgotten them the moment they passed. In a world that glorifies so many for so little, the average person is made to feel inconsequential. To the irrational mind, what better way to make your mark on the world?
People want to blame a God-less society. Please, don't get me started. I'm going to tread cautiously here because I don't want to really offend anyone. But, if there's one thing this world could use, it's a little less God-based judgment and a little more open-minded common sense. The things that have been done in the name of God (whether Christian, Muslim, Jew, matters little) over the years is shameful. And just because your religion has found some semblance of humanity in the last 50 years or so does not wipe away hundreds of years of oppression. So, don't dare tell me that having a God, any God, in his life might have changed his actions. God's "will" has been manipulated to justify cruelty to man a million times over. When 9 men flew planes into the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, they did so with the understanding that it was their God's plan. 'Nuff said on that point.
I think it's important to talk about things like this. However, I think it's more important to understand how it happened and not who perpetrated it. What, as a society, can we do differently today that will make something like this a thing of the past? It will happen again, we know this much. There are horrible people in this world and all the rules, regulations, and prayers will not stop them. A knee-jerk response is the easiest. The tough part is taking a good look at who we are and what we can do to make a change. Because, in the end, the killer was a product of the society in which he lived. This society. Our society. We made him. We have only ourselves to blame. So, there you have it. Stop asking why. Stop trying to point the finger. Change what you can. Have a positive impact on those around you. Don’t expect others to step up and take responsibility. Do what you can to craft an open-minded society that takes care of its own without shutting out what we don’t understand. Do what you can to make sure that we never have to ask “Why?” ever again.