Three mass shootings in a weeks’ time; Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio. Politicians, talking heads, and Americans are wondering why and speculating and politicizing all of the reasons why this is happening. The left blames President Trump. They blame the 2nd amendment. They blame guns.
The new term is that this is white terrorism, because we all know that every conversation has to have a color attached to it.
I have a different idea, actually a four-pronged solution to understanding and curbing the gun violence in America:
The 1st prong – is the common denominator in all of the mass shootings, mental health. Not color, not race, but people who have demonstrated before the shooting that they are mentally unstable and that mental instability was either ignored, or untreated, or inadequately treated. These are people who have had instances with family, co-students, co-workers, figures of authority or even animals that were far from what is considered normal behaviors, and those behaviors were not dealt with by those who experienced them for any variety of reasons. The feelings of isolation, anger, revenge, hopelessness were left to fester and grow until the person lashed out at others due to their own inability to deal with their own life issues and they felt they had no release valve and no escape from their personal misery and so they lashed out at family, friends or strangers in a vain attempt to quell the demons in their own minds. I promise that there were signs along the way, the question is who cared enough to pay attention or how were the signs hidden so well to be missed or dismissed.
The 2nd prong – that affects these predominantly young male shooters is the prolific use of electronics which depersonalize other human beings. Because they are no longer in social circumstances in which they have to interact face to face with people, and see and feel the consequences of their behavior, good or bad, they become immune to any pain they cause and think only of their own personal feelings. They do not see themselves as an active participant with others in the game of life, but only of their life and experiences and feelings, and they lack empathy for others. This generation of young adults spend inordinate amounts of time playing video games, being alone, shooting multitudes of video game enemies, with the goal being to kill and kill and kill.
They are socially awkward and uncomfortable with human interaction, conflict, stress, strong feelings, and are really disengaged from reality, responsibility and accountability.
When they decide to shoot at other humans for whatever slight they perceive in their irrational mind, they target first those who they perceive are their problem, but also indiscriminately target anyone and everyone in their path, as though they were targets in a video game. There is no feeling, no compassion, only anger and emptiness and a complete lack of value for life, others or their own.
The 3rd prong – in this situation is the removal of God from our daily lives. Judges and politicians have forced God and prayer to be removed from schools, sporting events, meetings and even in-home Bible groups. Throughout history God has been a bastion of hope for people in despair or times of sadness, or illness or strife. The belief in a higher power and the accountability to treat others as you would like to be treated, and the beacon of hope in a storm, and the power of group prayer has been all but stripped from American society and that stabilizing belief and presence of community in God has been stolen from these younger generations. Faith offers hope, it offers a heavenly reward, it decries inhumanity to man and sets forth standards of behavior that have been our roadmap for thousands of years. We have thrown those values away for the few that claim to be offended and we have hurt the great majority of believers in our country who value God and live by the tenets of their faith.
The 4th prong – is the political rhetoric in America today. When we elect politicians, we are hoping to elect leaders. We are hoping to have people of character acting as surrogate “parents” to do the right thing for us individually and as a society. What we have is “bad” parents. We have politicians who get into office and serve no one but themselves. We have politicians who use the most horrible words and untruths and name calling. We have politicians who gin up the public to anger, and to racial discord that otherwise would not be there. We have politicians who defy the rule of law, disrespect each other and the President of the United States, who spend their time showing our youth exactly how not to behave, who tell them that their President is horrible, that the world will end in twelve years, that we are torturing children at the border. At the same time those same disgusting politicians are wasting money on failed social experiments where no one is held accountable for their crimes, where deadly drugs are rampant, where our youth are taught our first responders are their enemy and are violent murderers, and where they have destroyed the mental health system as well as the medical system, and our youth feel hopeless and powerless. They do not feel enabled to live a valuable and happy and fulfilled life because the media and politicians have nothing good to say about America. Those that need help are unable to get it as we have crippled our mental health programs and our social workers and programs are corrupt and inept.
When they are angry, they have no relief valve, and these shootings are the result. It’s not about color. It’s not about guns. It is ALL about mental health, social discord sown by our so-called political leaders, and hopelessness. There is as much feeling in shooting others as in shooting video characters. God is gone, feeling is gone, anger is in a pressure cooker and the results are deadly.
While there will always be evil in the world, the rest is fixable. It is fixable with people having to be accountable, it is fixable with more human interaction and less electronic interaction, and it is fixable with more God rather than less, and it is fixable with us electing responsible leaders instead of the nutcases we have spewing hatred amongst our American society. We must go back to community and churches and mental health accessibility and care.
It is NOT the President, NOT the guns, but the behavior that is the problem!