While the entire country is still reeling from the shock of what happened two weeks ago, early on Friday morning, I have been going down memory lane recalling similar inexplicable shootings that have spanned more than three decades. It seems to have escalated in the past couple of years and in reality it has just been a deluge that is increasing with time. In short, this is not a recent phenomenon. When Obama says that this has happened too many times in our country he's saying a mouthful. It is so saddening to think that with all the opportunities, blessings and wealth in this country we cannot seem to get past our societal ills enough to start tackling this particular insidious problem in the way that we should.
The first outcry from the media, politicians and special interest groups is that the availability of guns is the culprit. It doesn't help- that's for certain. I would remind everyone, however, that people are responsible for the actual use of guns and there is too much irresponsibility on the part of adults and not enough caution taught to our children. It seems that no one wants to look at the real issue which is the actual people who are picking up tactical and assault weapons. If you Google the word shootings you'll get a long list of individuals who come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages and backgrounds. These are people that shouldn't have weapons available to them at all. How would we disarm them if we can't even get a profile on them ?
Let's go back to where I believe this all started. If someone can remember an incident prior to the January 1979 shooting in San Diego by a sixteen year old teenager, Brenda Spencer, please come forward to correct me. The details can be found on this link if you need to refresh your memory...
The callousness of this so-called flagrant act was a type of shield to the underlying mental problems and societal phenomenon that absolutely no one in a court of law can support in good conscience. In addition, it is an automatic dismissal in taking responsibility for how this type of human being becomes a creature subhuman to our sensibilities because they can perpetrate horrific violence when they themselves are in pain. Many parental adults promote and prize deflection and outright denial instead of teaching their children to take emotional responsibility for their actions. They do it without even thinking about what they are teaching their children. When these children or young adults try to navigate their immediate adolescent society, everything must be put back upright. Most likely they can begin to feel manipulated instead of being able to take control. I imagine it is much worse now than when I experienced it as a teenager. This problem has become much more complex since that time.
In all the commentaries I have read in newspapers and online this single sentence written by the Catholic Archbishop of Denver stood out more than all the rest:
"We're most often the victims of evil when we become objects- used for someone's else's purposes- instead of treated with the inherent dignity that comes just from being a person."
Samuel J. Aquila
The most difficult part of acknowledgement of these crimes is that the perpetrators are victims as well. Even if they are their own victim it doesn't help to view them as anything less than human themselves. We do not want to believe that we are capable of such an act, especially when it is perpetrated against the most helpless human beings we can think of- which are children. Were Brenda or Adam adults ? Was T.J. Lane's motivation similar in Ohio this February ? Was Jacob Roberts a local to Clackamas, OR ? Was James viewed as a mental patient prior to the shooting in Aurora ? Was James Huberty, originally from Canton, OH, merely following a teenager's example when he left his house in San Ysidro, CA in 1984, telling his wife that he was 'hunting humans' and returned to the McDonald's he had stopped at earlier in the day with his wife and children and opened fire on the customers killing 21 people, wounding 19? Among that carnage were four young children. All of the above mentioned had numerous assault weapons. They also have one other attribute in common.
They all fell through the cracks of early detection. I believe every one of the massacres I have mentioned here could have been prevented. If you read more about these individuals as human beings who started out life as a child and grew up to be the aberration which makes them cold bolded killers you will be a little closer to actually solving this problem. There is no sense in bringing in the strictest of gun laws and not dealing with the mental problems of these human beings. If you watch the following video- paying particular attention to the blonde woman, Pat Busher, who speaks about four minutes into it -you'll hear a very sensitive and meaningful response to this issue.
With deep concern,
The Castle Lady