Are You Ok?
James Eagan Holmes
The shooting that took place in Colorado has allowed us to see into the mind of another killer, one who lived amongst us disguised as a normal person. How many times will this pattern of behavior be repeated before we take a deeper look into the psyche of America's young adult minds? How many times have we saw patterns of behavior but paid little attention to them because we didn't want to wrongfully accuse who we believed to be an innocent person?
How do you go from being a PhD student to the point of dropping out of school and no one cares enough to take notice? There will never be an acceptable excuse for the type of behavior James Eagan Holmes displayed in Colorado. But when we look at the situation from an analytical view what do we see what kind of questions do we need to ask about the mental condition of young adults.
Our economic situation, our political climate, our social interactions and our detachment from family and friends are a recipe for disaster. For those of us born in the 60's and 70's would we have survived if the conditions we face today were a reality for us back than? What makes a young adult loose all sense of reality and just randomly shoot people without regard for life, limb or property?
What must be going through the minds of these young people’s families when they discover it’s their child that has brutally taken the life of innocent victims? There are so many victims in these situations often we forget that families are not the blame for their children's behavior. As parents how much time do we put into our children once they leave the nest, how much interaction do we have with them. A day hardly goes by that I don't talk with my children wherever I am or wherever they are.
Families play an important role in providing a haven where young adults can talk and find support for whatever is bothering them. How many times have my children told me they were feeling depressed, stressed, etc., and how many times have I had to reassure them that they will be ok and that life is hard but you have the best opportunities any generation has every had. I have reassured them that any situation in their life is fluid and will certainly pass soon enough.
My heart goes out to our young adults because they have many pressures that we as parents forget about and leave them to carry their burdens alone. We are preoccupied with our own troubles and seldom have time to think of others. Young Adults are between the ages of 21-29 this is the age group of many of the shooters over the past few years. Perhaps we need to take a second look at the social pressures this generation is facing and put programs in place that will salvage them and give them some direction in their lives. I realize we cannot save everybody and the circumstances that drove these shooters to take the actions they have may not always be salvageable. But, we know the patterns, how often will we look at these types of tragedies and hear the same old patterns of behavior:
1. They never caused anybody any trouble,
2. All of a sudden they stopped coming to school or work
3. They seemed trouble and stayed home a lot
4. They lost their job and haven't been able to find work for a while.
5. No one heard from them for a while
6. I thought they were ok even though I knew something was wrong.
7. They had no friends and always looked sad
8. They were always alone.
The signs are endless and yet we still can't seem to stop these tragedies before they happen. Many of these shooters lived normal lives before they decided to go on a killing spree. What are they getting out of the killings, does it provide a sense of entitlement, belonging, attention, power, etc., if so than what are the alternatives that would redirect their behavior.
It is getting hard to turn on the television and not have to watch wars and riots. The world is in chaos and we are going about our daily lives numb to the reality that our world is falling apart and human societies round the globe are in trouble. We are all connected and the energy level of the world is certainly affecting all of us. The social control mechanisms put in place to control citizen’s behaviors and norms are weakening, what are the alternatives. The social institutions that are suppose to provide a sense of normalcy is also falling apart. It would appear to this writer that humanity is on the brink of disaster because we are loosing our ability to respect the saintly of life. The media has built a climate that is conducive for this type of behavior. We support violent movies where humans are killed in mass. If we continue to feed humanity with, war, crime, destruction, murder, rape, brutality, and devastation we will continue to see this type of destructive behavior occupying the airways. The human psyche is not sustainable in this climate and we need to do something about it. The human psyche is not built for the massive programs of destruction we see displayed on the airways.
No matter where we look we see the sanctity of life being taken for granted. From the time we awaken in the morning until we lay our heads down at night we are constantly being fed negativity. Somewhere along the line we need to say enough is enough and take control of what we are feeding our minds. It’s popular to be the class clown because we see it in the media, its popular to kill people because we see in the media, its popular to kidnap little children because we see it in the media. The media is making millions of dollars because we support the system without any regard for what it is doing to our minds. We forget how impressionable we are, it’s easy to see how impressionable little children are but it does not stop because we get older. As a matter of fact we are more impressionable the older we get because we pay little attention to what we allow in our lives.
I can only hope that one day we will wake up and realize we have created these shooters and it is going to take us realizing that we have to push back from the table of destructive entertainment and say no more. No longer will I allow my mind to be engaged in behavior that is not constructive and beneficial to my wellbeing. There is an old religious saying that goes like this "An idle mind is the devil's workshop", you may not be one who fancy such talk but in the final analysis we can all agree that an idle mind is certainly a recipe for disaster.