Recent Shootings: No One Single Cause
Disconnection and Isolation
We're all part of the problem and the solution
Due to the recent shootings in Connecticut that left us all in shock and disbelief, many people have tried to explain how this kind of thing could happen, pointing the finger at the NRA and our country's gun laws.
I believe that there is no one cause, but a combination of factors that led to this tragedy and others like it. There is no simple answer to the question "Why do people choose to take the lives of innocent people?" It is when a number of circumstances come together, all in one individual, that these shootings happen. The circumstances I'm talking about are the following:
1. In the U.S., incredibly easy access to guns including automatic and semi-automatic weapons. In some states no background check is required and a person's mental status is not taken into account. I don't know how this can be worked out, but it is clear to anyone who has any sense and compassion that new gun laws are needed desperately.
2. Violent movies, television shows, video games, and other forms of entertainment. When did it become "fun" and acceptable to entertain ourselves with death and violence? How twisted is that? Young people in their preteen and teen years are very impressionable. It is when their identity is being formed, and the more violence they put in their minds, the more likely they are to commit violent acts. Sometimes they fill their minds so full of violence that the line between "entertainment and fantasy" and "reality" is crossed. Humans are capable of being brainwashed, and this is no different. Garbage in, garbage out. We ARE what we think. We become what we focus our minds on.
3. Disconnection and isolation: many individuals don't fit the "mold" and slowly begin to feel different, disconnected and alone. This can be dealt with by reaching out to people who seem to be loners, offering our friendship and help. Lonely teens need mentors, big brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, church youth pastors, teachers and counselors. Reach out to the teens around you! It can be a very lonely and scary time and a healthy relationship with an adult can tip the scales in the right direction.
4. Uninvolved parents-parents are so busy these days earning a living, paying the bills, providing medical insurance and other necessities for their families that they don't always have time or energy left over to connect with their kids. This goes beyond "How was your day?". This means spending time with them, entire days or weekends, camping, fishing, shopping, hiking or anything else kids can do with their parents. It's about knowing our kids intimately and being an active part of their lives.
5. Mental Illness-Everyone is susceptible to mental illness such as depression, anxiety, OCD, and other mental health disorders. When these conditions are not treated, they progress and a break with reality is possible. Even people who have held strong values in the past can do things that violate those values when they're not in their rational state of mind. If you know someone who suffers from depression or any other disorder, understand them and help them find treatment!
This list is not all inclusive and there are other factors that play into the horrible tragedies that we have witness in recent years, but it seems that we can all play a part in each of these areas-demanding stricter gun laws, refusing to allow ourselves and our loved ones to be entertained with violence and death (boycotting certain movies, TV shows and video games), connecting to people, mentoring teens, spending time with our children and grandchildren, and helping those who struggle with mental illness to find help.
We're all part of the solution. What are you going to do?