Difficult Times Lead to Difficult Decisions

A discussion about our focus in America and its effect on young people.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

GearHead February 22, 2013 at 07:56 PM
A few observations: Our society isn't preoccupied with money. Otherwise Mitt Romney would be president. But it is preoccupied with celebrity. Notice how money flows to celebrity, not to mention money and power. An excellent example would be Obama. I don't care how much money he has. But as a celebrity president, he gets to fly around on his own jet, let his wife fly another one. Golf with Tiger Woods. Hobnob with the Hollywood elites. The stuff that would devastate Bush, of course. He has ultimate control, even though he doesn't really own anything. Contrast that with the shooters. You suggest they have no control. Yet, most come from comfortable middle class families. So money can't be the issue. Some of us do spread the good news that anyone can become as great as they want to be, given enough time, talent, heart and discipline. But we are shot down at every turn by liberals who believe good fortune is bad because you were lucky, along with somehow ripping off or otherwise taking advantage of others. This is the prevailing view of capitalism. So what is left? Trusting government can improve your life? That is a prescription for disaster, yet government continues to grow. Why should good news be heard if a gun prevents 3,600 rapes a day? http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/guns-prevent-3600-rapes-a-day/ Because it doesn't fit the media template. Sorry to make this political, but swimming upstream is tough when liberal controlled media rules.
GearHead February 22, 2013 at 08:13 PM
So if you do the math, 1.3 million women per year didn't get assalted. Each one is a success story for it. They were clearly safer. This lesson shouldn't be lost on our children. Yet, we are still told arming our schools is a bad idea. But where is the proof of that? My proof rests with 1.3 million women per year. My guess is the teachers and kids will become much more engaged with each other only when they know they aren't sitting ducks. I pity them until then.
Keith Worst February 23, 2013 at 01:06 PM
@Rees You say we live in difficult times. When has it been otherwise?
Born Free February 24, 2013 at 05:12 AM
Once people let go of the 'get even' victim attitude which is the result of self centeredness social values will improve. Nothing could have been more beneificial to secular society beginning from childhood on then the ethical principals of the Golden Rule. "Do onto others as you would want others to do onto you", is the polar opposite of 'let's play the victim' role. I'll bet the Golden Rule is no longer taught or posted on any plaques anymore in America's pooh-litically correct public schools yet years ago after Jesus was kicked out of public schools it was by far the last form of higher moral social engineering left. [Side note observation: Don't expect kids to not notice violence when their teachers are represented by Progressive unions that will engage in violent sabotage.] If kids and society don't want Jesus in their lives then at least have the courage to teach the Golden Rule once again. Teach it, over teach it and drill into peoples heads like a personal mantra. If someone finds the Golden Rule to be offensive you can be sure they're not playing with a full deck and have an alterior nefarious motive.
jbw February 24, 2013 at 06:35 AM
I used to praise the Golden Rule a lot, but I think it can be prone to misunderstandings. There are quite a few situations where others would be upset if I treated them the way I would want to be treated. It assumes everyone has the same cultural background. The "Silver Rule" - don't do to others what you wouldn't want others to do to you - is perhaps more practical.
jbw February 24, 2013 at 06:47 AM
Any time you make a call to action you must say these are difficult times. If you want things to stay as they are then you say times are good. It's a basic persuasive technique like implying urgency with an arbitrary deadline, or focusing attention on a single scapegoat to harness and redirect frustration over a complex and widespread social problem.
jbw February 24, 2013 at 07:25 AM
I've been more concerned with survival than with money, personally. Throughout human existence we strive to obtain what we need to grow and thrive like all other living things. Once you get past that point, which most humans will never do, then you have the luxury of elevating money or whatever else to your highest priority. I have tried to suggest several times that we put the major news stories in perspective and not act rashly out of emotion, without success. Ironically, you suggest that you began to think only when another TV show told you to do so. Rather than try to win a shouting match with ratings-driven media, putting simple everyday niceties up against attention-grabbing sensationalism, you might want to try encouraging people to think for themselves. Try exercising your brain by taking something you are told and questioning it, doubting it, separating fact from interpretation, forming a logical argument against someone's interpretation. Critical thinking is arming your brain to defend itself against attempts to control it. It's far more desirable to teach everyone to defend themselves than it is to spend all of your time and effort trying to protect them yourself. Think of how many ways this applies to life.
Steve ® February 24, 2013 at 07:28 AM
Rees is the problem. http://images.iverifytherecall.com/images/sw/sw026917.png
Rees Roberts February 24, 2013 at 10:50 AM
I want to thank Steve ® for making my case on a totally different matter. Namely, that people should not have the right to hide behind their anonymous names. Your attempt at intimidation with impunity is a perfect example of what is wrong with this system. I will be using this example when I bring this forward to Patch this week to their New York management at it's parent company AOL as a further example of how this system can be abused. Just think, you may be the reason things may change. Personally, that list was created by conservatives. But I feel it also is a list of those who felt strongly that they should vote their conscience. And in our system of governing, no one should ever be made to feel guilty just because they voted. I certainly do not feel guilty. The difference between you Steve and me is I would never have used this list against you for the way you voted. You of course hid behind your anonymous name to share this online. Thanks for making my case for me. Please continue to comment Steve ®. I want this on the record.
Luke February 24, 2013 at 12:43 PM
@Rees It appears that you have fallen victim to the very thing you are attempting to protect us from. You say that the media (among other things) has focused our attention on negative things, resulting in our time becoming worse than in the past in the context of mass shootings. However, mass shootings have been on the decline for quite some time, and we are near a historical low. You wouldn't think this was the case, given all the negative media attention. The truth is, many times the number of children will die because mothers rolled over their babies while sleeping with them, failed to secure them in proper seats while driving in the car, or left their child unattended in the bathtub while they went to answer the phone. You have focused on the very thing the media selected for you to fixate upon, and missed the forest by focusing upon a tree. As for some of the solutions you focused upon, you were pretty much spot-on. But families aren't valued the way they used to be, nor is the role they played emphasized in the same way. So good luck with that. (Sorry for the sarcasm.)
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) February 24, 2013 at 02:48 PM
Rees, remember the debate against aliases on Patch? Looks like you should have embraced their use. Zing!
Greg February 24, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Rees, Can you prove that Steve is not his real name? Which Rees Roberts are you? There are probably people that do not think that you have provided enough information to completely identify you. Stating that Steve has impunity implies that he should be subject to punishment or retribution for his post. Based on the limited information you provided, to use your screen name, is there not a chance that the wrong Rees Roberts could be punished due to your posts? With the proof you have provided, your screen name is as anonymous as the next. If I tell you that my last name is Bachman, then I call you out for being a whiny nark, will that make it all O.K.? Please get over it, if you don't want to post on Patch go away. It's as simple as that.
Rees Roberts February 24, 2013 at 03:46 PM
Luke, thanks for your comment. I believe families aren't what they used to be is because the basic structure changed. When I grew up my mother did not need to work outside of the home. She was the person who brought up the kids. She was the home maker and dad was the bread winner. Now, both mothers and fathers need to work outside the home to bring in enough money to enjoy any chance of being middle class. By the time parents get home from work, it is a rat race to accomplish everything else in typical home environment. Some things just don't get done. There is only just enough energy to get through after school transportation needs, dinner, homework, etc. It's not a pretty picture. Some things suffer as a result. Basic parenting suffers and kids just do not get the love and nurturing they used to in days gone by. Then there are the host of other family configurations. Single, gay, non-married, mixed families from previous marriages parenting and all the others those bring to the table. So, is it that families aren't valued the way they used to or is it that too much is now expected and results falter? Where moms used to instilled values full time, they now instead bring home needed cash. Where moms made clothes and the daily menu of food, they now do not have that quality time with their children that ultimately made a huge difference on how kids grew up. These are examples of difficult times I spoke about.
Steve ® February 24, 2013 at 04:22 PM
Rees, don't tell me you live in Obama's alternative reality as well. The list was created by you, and all your blue fisting, public union brain washed, producer hating, welfare dependent, childish tantrum, tax dollar scamming cohorts. To blame a conservative for this list is like Obama blaming the republicans for his budget failures. You signed it, with free will. You made the list. You are an example of what is wrong with "the system". This is not a public place. I am posting on private servers using private equipment on privately contracted Internet service in a privately owned building. You come forth with propaganda and your record is public. Why do you want to hide from it? Link your signature on every propaganda blog you type in the forefront, be proud of it. Own it. Your recall signature was not a "vote". It was a public declaration of taxpayer theft. Please continue to type propaganda Rees, I want this on record.
skinnyDUDE February 24, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I think the 24 hour news cycle and constant converage to these events tends to plant the seeds into a deranged mind of these violent events. I mean they tend to beat these violent stories into the ground and give the killer some sort of platform of importance. This feeds into other deranged people into doing a idea that might not otherwise been done. Clearly,with the amount of guns in the country and actual violent crime going down over the years overall in the USA these stories being sensationalized tend to sway the perception from the reality. The major component to the most common violent crimes are gangs , drugs and domestic violence of ones own family. These are the areas that are hardest to contain. The complete breakdown of the family has had far reaching effects. The society is more dysfunctional than ever and that sad trend is on the rise as Government tends to reward unwanted behaviors.
The Anti-Alinsky February 24, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Rees, the whole recall was The Public Unions vs. The People. The Public Unions fought for years for more and more from various governments. The People finally had enough and elected responsible leadership in the all three branches of state government. The Public Unions attempted to stifle the People through intimidation, stalling tactics, court action, and recalls. The People voted and told the Public Unions "we will not let you throw a hissy fit and get your way". For years, the Socialist Left has been arguing about "the will of the people", and when they finally expressed it, the Left attempted to subvert it. Maybe the Socialist Left doesn't know "the will of the people" as much as they think they do!!!
Rees Roberts February 24, 2013 at 05:04 PM
skinnyDUDE, I agree that the 24 hour news cycle and constant coverage has created a big price in today's society. I am not aware that violent crime has gone down. But that shouldn't be the discussion we have. It's just I wasn't aware of that. I just think we need to foster positive long term community, family and individual values. Once we do that it will become clearer what our decisions should be.
Luke February 24, 2013 at 10:31 PM
@Rees Yes, that's the part of your blog that I agreed with. In fact, you scored even better in your reply to me. Both parents investing in their kids to the best of their ability is the standard we should shoot for. I have slightly different views on what we call mental illness, but I do think you were correct about control issues. I just don't have the time and motivation to write about it at the moment.
The Anti-Alinsky February 25, 2013 at 03:13 AM
And exactly how do you plan on "fostering" those values? Liberals have been shoveling money into the inner cities for years, and not only have things not improved, they have gotten worse. And that too can be blamed on the Liberal agenda. It is no longer the parents' (or in many, many cases parent) responsibility to raise the child, social services does that for them. We continue to pay people to sit at home and do nothing while they collect money through multiple social programs. And OMG, if you give your kid a well deserved swat, social services has you locked up for hurting their self-esteem. Liberals have been fighting family values for years. We pay inner city mothers for every child they have, then penalize them if the father is actually involved in their lives. If your really, really want to make a change, we need to get people back to work, make them responsible for their actions, and hold them fully accountable when they break the law. In other words, it's time to say good-bye to the notion that self-esteem is the most important thing in this world, and make everyone responsible for their own lives!!!


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