Over the past number of weeks there has been much written about violence in our society. Whether that be at schools or on our streets in America.
Tonight I viewed the PBS program "Nova" where the title referred to "The Mind of a Rampage Killer." It is a well thought out program which strives to show what clues to look for in young people today which might point to those who may be inclined to physically hurt people or themselves.
We have all heard the most infamous of those in the media. Columbine, Virgina Tech and Sandy Hook schools come to mind. But what came as a surprise during this PBS program was not that those tragic examples occurred but rather that hundreds of others were prevented. The media never covers those to the extent of the most disturbing.
So, as the program progressed the question is asked why on earth would anyone do such things. It was suggested that these mentally ill people were in a long term state of depression and many wanted to die. It was also suggested that they did not wake up one day and decided to kill people. Rather, they were in situations where they felt very much out of control of their lives. That they wanted to gain back that control while performing acts of murder hoping they themselves would be killed. Suicide by law enforcement. It was shown there were many signs leading up to these attacks. But alas, it is much easier to obtain guns and bullets than obtaining mental health help.
I suggest what we are seeing is a reflection of our own society. A society which believes money is more important than anything else. That what gets reported as news helps re-enforce what is negative about ourselves. That young people feel trapped and unable to trust anyone to get help. That apparently we do not get to see the good news that is happening in preventing these occurrences but rather only hear about the worst of the worst.
No wonder our children are depressed, not to mention adults. I speculate that until we speak out loudly about what is right about our country, instead of constantly focusing on what is wrong about it, we are doomed to continue our current path. We have much more in common and we should emphasize that with ourselves and our children.
No matter what side of the debate you are on, you have to agree that if you are not given all the facts you can not arrive at a good decision on anything. Our collective decision on the use of guns, the amount of violence in our country, the amount of violence in video games, the amount of violence on television as a whole is having a profound effect on our children not to mention real violence on our streets. It certainly feels reasonable that kids may not feel safe anymore in school because of all the negative reporting. We have become slaves to the media. We react to what they decide is important to report because we don't have information to contradict their reporting. What if, as I discovered tonight, that hundreds of schools across this country prevented mass murders only because teachers and principles became more engaged with the kids. They have made a real effort to get to know the kids they teach. Wouldn't we all then feel safer knowing that progress is being made?
I realize there will be comments which will morph the intent of this Blog into either a conservative or liberal political statement. They would be doing everyone a disservice because what is really at stake is the basic health of our country. How safe do our children feel when they go to school. As the program pointed out those who feel out of control of their lives could be on a path of destruction, which could bring many innocent people down with them.
These are terribly difficult times. We live in an era where we all find out, at the speed of light, what happens anywhere on our planet. That for many is difficult enough but until we return to some true basics of family, community and a positive sense of ourselves we will find it impossible to assess, much less solve many of our current basic problems.
We live in a technology rich existence. The most profound communications system ever devised, the Internet, has all the tools we need. We just need to learn how to communicate positively instead of focusing on what is negative about ourselves. I pray we do.