In the wake of the Friday shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where at least 18 children were killed, the country is abuzz with talk over why these shootings happen, and how to stop them.
Unfortunately, most explanations being peddled are simplistic, divisive, and are indirectly contributing to an atmosphere that will lead to more shootings.
It is in the interest of saving future lives that I write this article and offer a simple solution, one that everyone seems to be overlooking.
5 Mythical Causes to the Shootings:
Tightening gun legislation won’t stop shootings any more than banning marijuana will stop people from smoking. Let’s have a brief thought experiment: Say access to guns was the cause of all these shootings. Then we’d look at a country like Israel – where soldiers walk around with guns everywhere – and expect lots of shootings, right? Wrong. Israel has virtually zero shootings. The cause is deeper than guns.
2) Violent video Games
I shouldn’t even need to explain this one, but suffice to say if violent video games caused shootings, I already would have been responsible for a Columbine or two of my own.
3) The Press
Some have pointed out that by publicizing these crimes, the press is allowing a “copycat syndrome” to occur, whereby individuals see past shooters gaining celebrity status and try to “one up” them by going on a bloody rampage of their own. Unfortunately, in this case the proposed solution is worse than the crime it is attempting to prevent – the creation of a censored press and a police state.
Same problem as #3 – this is simply too difficult to regulate, and is not the only contributing factor. Something tells me getting rid of Facebook would not stop school shootings.
5) Poor parenting
While it’s easy to blame the parents, this approach is not helpful because it does not explain why so many shootings continue to happen. Plus, having better parenting would solve a lot more than just mass shootings – if you’ve got a magic fix to this, what are you waiting for? Out with it.
I think Americans who are fed up and disgusted with these shootings need to confront a simple truth: Pointing fingers and lining up into sides on divisive issues is not going to solve anything; in fact it may be contributing to the problem.
Our culture has a problem with individualism and a severe drought of community. When you have too much individualism, people feel a need to be recognized. It heightens ambition and pushes them to extremes. When they can’t accomplish this the “normal” way (having a successful career, raising a family, etc.) they get pushed by this current of individualism to the other extreme – taking as many lives with them as possible.
Just look at all these shootings – in the vast majority of cases, the shooter ends up dead by suicide (suicide being another symptom of the same problem – every 14 minutes, someone dies by suicide in the U.S.). In virtually ALL cases, the shooter is not coming from a happy place. Name one shooter who was totally happy with their life before they decided to shoot up a school.
This shows that the problem is people are struggling and feel isolated, and have no support. They do the only thing they can to retake control. We need better social support systems, and better communities, if we ever want to stop these things from happening.
In a word: we need empathy.
Maybe, instead of pointing fingers, we need to look in the mirror. Maybe the problem is us.
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