Trying To Make Sense of the Connecticut Shooting
Like everyone else who watched or heard the news coming from the horrible events in Newtown, CT, I sat watching
the coverage...with my heart broken for the tremendous loss of innocent lives and the violence that has become a
part of our society.
1:38 am cst
As someone who sits in a counseling office weekly, (hearing stories that would boggle most
minds), it is easy to get a bit 'hardened' to societies "ills" and to 'not be surprised' by anything...much like
a policeman or social worker, I guess.
Still...the school shooting in Newtown impacted me very hard, like I believe
it did most Americans and the rest of the World. I thought of those children...those heroic teachers...those first responders...but
mostly of the parents who would get the most tragic news of their lives. I knew...they'd never be the same again.
As a parent...I know there is no greater fear or realization, and like most people...I grieved with, and for those parents,
and still do.
Much has...and will be said about this horrible incident for many years to come. Professionals,
politicians, experts, and the 'everday man and woman' will try to make sense of it in their minds. That is completely
normal, I believe...and one of the ways we deal with these events mentally, as a society.
First, let me say...that
for most of us...trying to understand the mind of a shooter, who would randomly murder innocent children, (or anyone else
for that matter), is beyond our scope of reason. We simply do not have it in our hearts or minds to even conceive
of such evil, and therefore are completely 'taken aback' when we witness it...even from a distance by radio or television.
Shock sets in.
I also realize that for most people in society...we desperately want to respond immediately to these
events with action. Sadly, most of these actions will not prevent future episodes.
Some want to ban
all firearms...others want to arm teachers, or at the very least hire policemen to patrol our schools...while others just
send cards or money to charities that promise to help the community or family. As a society...we all want to do something
to help and prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again...and that is a very good thing.
of what any politician or "expert" says, it's impossible to know what the "right" thing to do is in these
cases, because opinions are so varied on them, and there is no way to totally protect a society against this kind of violence...at
least as long as a society is a free society.
Would making all guns illegal prevent or stop these horrible events?
No. (If I believed it would...I'd be a major proponent). Would making all guns illegal make it harder for these
events to be perpetrated? Yes of course. But one thing we can all agree upon...if someone wants to harm others...they
will think of a way. The danger is not in an inanimate object...but within the heart of someone who is willing to
hurt others at any cost. Whether it is a plane flown into a building...a knife...a gun...a rock...a boot or a fist...danger
lurks within the hearts and minds of mankind. That is the real danger! They can use a car, a thirty cent lighter,
a bottle of bleach, an infected needle or whatever.
In short...for us to prevent these events...we
must take a hard look at the hearts and minds of mankind and society...and what is shaping them...not what could be used as
a weapon...since virtually anything could be.
As someone who has studied events like "Columbine, Virginia
Tech, People's Temple, 9/11," and others...I've come to see one common link. That is...in most of these cases,
the perpetrator felt like they had been "done horribly wrong" by their peers, family and or society.
These narcissistic personalities seem to truly believe that someone...and thereby 'society at large,' has done them horribly
wrong and therefore...due to the pain caused them...will exact a much more deadly revenge, meant to send an eternal message.
"You hurt me...and I'll hurt you much more." The innocent people who become the victims
of these mentally ill individuals is not as important to these personalities as the message it sends to the rest of us.
Again..."You have hurt me, (society), and now I'll hurt you back."
To the terrorists of 9/11,
it was the Americans and Israel. To the shooters at Columbine, it was the "Jocks." To the shooter at
Virginia Tech, it was "the Rich, Spoiled Kids." No individual really...just...society.
be argued that violent video games, television, movies, peer pressure, etc...are all to blame...and maybe they all are in
a small way. What is true however, is...if we want it to stop...we must pay more attention to people around us and their
mental health, without ridicule, condemnation or judgment.
What many people do not realize about mental health
is the true infancy regarding the science. While mental health sciences have made remarkable progress in the treatment
of mental illness in the past several decades...it is still in it's infancy. Just ask those, who go through months or
years of various treatments before one is found to work or even help.
Therefore, we as a society must give
the utmost care and financing to helping progress the study of mental illnesses and how to treat them, or we will continue
to see these horrible events unfold...and even most likely increase. We should also train parents, teachers, social
workers, and whoever else we can, to spot the signs of mental illness and work to find people the help they need. We
must remove the 'stigma' of mental illness, and break the 'silence barrier.'
My own prayer is that we will learn
as a society...to make everyone count and take a genuine interest in those around us and help them when we see they are struggling.
Will it stop the violence? I don't know...but we have to try...for the sake of our children.