Friday, December 4, 2015

In a World of Mass Shootings, Part I

My family and I lived in Colorado just a half hour from Columbine High School when the mass shootings took place on April 20, 1999. Twelve students and one teacher died that day.

The event rattled our world and our friends' worlds as we tried to wrap our minds around the senseless killings. Suddenly, keeping our children safe took on a whole new meaning. Later, as I stood at the site surveying the outpouring of the public's sympathy in the form of plush animals, heartwrenching notes and flowers, the grief I felt over such violence and the loss of young lives was unbearable.
It was an unimaginable act of violence, the likes of which had not been surpassed at the time. Sadly to say, since that event mass shootings have become a way of life in America. We have moved from the rarety of one or two a year, to one or two a month and now to weekly shootings. What has happened to bring us to this?

I think that no one thing is to blame but multiple factors are at the heart of the issue contributing to this severe illness that is effecting America. I know this will infuriate some people, but if I cannot express my heartfelt beliefs here on my own blog, where can I express them? In this post I will address what I think are the contributing factors. In my next post I will talk about what, if anything, we can do about it.

1) Isolation due to technology. We are at this point in time more connected to each other than we have ever been through phones, computers, and multiple technological devices, and yet we are less connected in a personal way through relationships.

2) Lax gun regulations. It is too easy for people to obtain guns. Just this past week I learned that you do not need proof of ownership in order to sell a gun in North Carolina. I also learned that because of laxer laws in the Carolinas, it is a source of supply for those in larger cities who sell guns illegally and use them for crimes.

3) Angry people who blame others for perceived wrongs done to them or others.  This includes people who are religious zealots, whether they claim to be Christian, Muslim, Atheist or any other perusuaion. It also includes people who have been bullied or ostracized.

4) Mentally ill people.  They may or may not also be religious zealots. Not every initiator of mass violence is mentally ill but some are unbalanced.

5) Violence in movies, books, and video games.  The more violent the content of what is produced the more desensitized the consumers become to the killings and the more likely they are to accept violence as a way of leveling perceived wrongs.

6) A wealthy culture consumed with capitalism. We live in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. If you don't believe me, take a trip elsewhere and see how others live. We thrive on owning and building wealth. We mistake wants for needs and want immediate gratification. We give too much to our children. We own too much ourselves. 

7) An entitlement attitude.  We feel we are entitled to have things our way and if we don't get what we want, we blame others. We are a lawsuit crazy country. If we get hurt by a product we use, we don't look to our own ineptness, we look to the person who produced it to blame. Liability and lawsuits have sky rocketed. Americans can no long accept responsiblity for their own actions, instead we want to pin the blame on others and take them to court, not just to right the wrong, but to make a profit on it.

In my next post I will address what I think might be done to help remedy the stituation. I cannot think of any better words to close with thant these words of Christ.

“Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.” John 14:27

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