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It has taken me some time to collect my thoughts on this tragedy. This is what I could muster…
Once again, a child walked into a school and terrorized and killed innocent people, children! Some may call a 19-year-old an adult, and “legally” he is. In my eyes, he is still a child emotionally and physically. Children do not have the experience of an adult perspective. A male brain takes longer to fully form than that of a female. The pre-frontal cortex (the part of the brain that acts as the voice of reason, counterbalancing risk taking and violence) has not fully attached.
Take a kid, add mental issues (losing his mother who was the only person he had in this world), the system failing him, the watchdog groups not acting, and easy access to a killing machine, and you get mass murder.
Some people will say a person like this is not worthy of our concern or care. Some people will say he should be punished to the full extent of the law and more. I am not here to debate his punishment. He has admitted to the murder of 17 innocent victims, the injury of others who are still fighting for their lives and to irreversible trauma of everyone involved. His punishment will NEVER take away the pain and suffering he has caused countless people all over the world. The court will decide his fate, right or wrong.
What I want to debate is WHY this is happening and what we can do to make it stop. It is an extremely complicated issue with many factors. I cannot address them all here.
First, I feel we have to address the mental health aspect. No matter your opinion or position on guns, there is no denying that the people who use them to commit murder, especially mass murder, are not of sound mind. The reasons are as varied as the day is long. Some factors are the decline of society, the fraying of the fabric of the family unit, families struggling to make ends meet, the incessant stresses, time away from loved ones, kids raising themselves, the saturation of violence in “entertainment” and our daily lives, and, YES, lack of proper nutrition. ALL erode our society and fail our children.
Where are the helpers?! Without someone in their path to guide and nurture them, children are doomed. If you study all the children who have committed or attempted mass murder, you’ll see a trend. They are often loners, bullied, shunned, rejected, abused, neglected and most of all are on psychotropic medications, which may or may not help or intensify their issues.
I have serious doubts that these kids almost ever appear to be well-adjusted, happy, contributing members of society and their school family, and then suddenly one day they snap, buying a weapon of mass destruction, taking it to school and gunning down innocent victims. It’s possible, but time and time again when people reflect on that person after an event, they mention mental illness, abuse, anti-social behaviors, etc. I ask again, WHERE WERE THE HELPERS?! The family he lived with knew he had guns, but thought they were in a “safe?!” It’s not safe for someone like him to HAVE guns, period!
All through a person’s life, they need helpers! Do we just throw people away because we somehow deem them unworthy of intervention? Did no one notice this kid had problems, especially after losing the one person he had to care for him and keep him in check? Did the FBI and police have a good watch over him after there were reports of a YouTube video with him saying he wanted to be “a professional school shooter?!” How did he get a gun? Is someone with mental instability, no guidance and a threatening video statement really someone who should have access to weapons?! I don’t care what political affiliation you have. If you cannot put that aside, if you cannot put your common sense and heart before the rhetoric, you are the problem. We ALL have to address this issue!
Now what are we left with? The kids and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are forever scarred emotionally. They had to hide in closets and under desks, and they saw their classmates gunned down in the hallway. They will never be the same. Those fighting for their lives may or may not survive. If they do, they will be forever traumatized. The loved ones of the victims are broken and will never fully heal. The victims were gunned down, their life paths stolen from them. We’ll never know what contributions they would have made to humanity. We have all been robbed of what could have been.
How many shootings at concerts, in malls, movie theatres, night clubs, churches and schools will it take for us as a society to put civility and reason before our fears, insecurities and egos?! Our children HAVE to go to school! School is supposed to be a safe place, where learning and nurturing should come first! Instead, kids all over the country know they could be next! How must that feel?!! I can only imagine.
There are so many issues in our society that cause stress, anxiety and depression. Not feeling safe is a huge one. Events like this cause PTSD in those involved and beyond. And kids’ brains are still forming. They don’t have perspective, clarity or total rational thought. But then again, there is NO rationale for this. There is zero excuse for exposing children to these dangers and fears. Look at us! What have we become? This is NOT “normal!” This is NOT acceptable! This is not how we humans should behave!

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