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Difficult Times Lead to Difficult Decisions

A discussion about our focus in America and its effect on young people.

Over the past number of weeks there has been much written about violence in our society.  Whether that be at schools or on our streets in America. 

Tonight I viewed the PBS program "Nova" where the title referred to "The Mind of a Rampage Killer."  It is a well thought out program which strives to show what clues to look for in young people today which might point to those who may be inclined to physically hurt people or themselves.

We have all heard the most infamous of those in the media.  Columbine, Virgina Tech and Sandy Hook schools come to mind.  But what came as a surprise during this PBS program was not that those tragic examples occurred but rather that hundreds of others were prevented.  The media never covers those to the extent of the most disturbing.

So, as the program progressed the question is asked why on earth would anyone do such things.  It was suggested that these mentally ill people were in a long term state of depression and many wanted to die.  It was also suggested that they did not wake up one day and decided to kill people.  Rather, they were in situations where they felt very much out of control of their lives.  That they wanted to gain back that control while performing acts of murder hoping they themselves would be killed.  Suicide by law enforcement.  It was shown there were many signs leading up to these attacks.  But alas, it is much easier to obtain guns and bullets than obtaining mental health help.

I suggest what we are seeing is a reflection of our own society.  A society which believes money is more important than anything else.  That what gets reported as news helps re-enforce what is negative about ourselves.  That young people feel trapped and unable to trust anyone to get help.  That apparently we do not get to see the good news that is happening in preventing these occurrences but rather only hear about the worst of the worst. 

No wonder our children are depressed, not to mention adults.  I speculate that until we speak out loudly about what is right about our country, instead of constantly focusing on what is wrong about it, we are doomed to continue our current path. We have much more in common and we should emphasize that with ourselves and our children.

No matter what side of the debate you are on, you have to agree that if you are not given all the facts you can not arrive at a good decision on anything.  Our collective decision on the use of guns, the amount of violence in our country, the amount of violence in video games, the amount of violence on television as a whole is having a profound effect on our children not to mention real violence on our streets.  It certainly feels reasonable that kids may not feel safe anymore in school because of all the negative reporting.  We have become slaves to the media.  We react to what they decide is important to report because we don't have information to contradict their reporting.  What if, as I discovered tonight, that hundreds of schools across this country prevented mass murders only because teachers and principles became more engaged with the kids. They have made a real effort to get to know the kids they teach.  Wouldn't we all then feel safer knowing that progress is being made?

I realize there will be comments which will morph the intent of this Blog into either a conservative or liberal political statement.  They would be doing everyone a disservice because what is really at stake is the basic health of our country.  How safe do our children feel when they go to school.  As the program pointed out those who feel out of control of their lives could be on a path of destruction, which could bring many innocent people down with them.

These are terribly difficult times.  We live in an era where we all find out, at the speed of light, what happens anywhere on our planet.  That for many is difficult enough but until we return to some true basics of family, community and a positive sense of ourselves we will find it impossible to assess, much less solve many of our current basic problems.

We live in a technology rich existence.  The most profound communications system ever devised, the Internet, has all the tools we need. We just need to learn how to communicate positively instead of focusing on what is negative about ourselves.  I pray we do.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

skinnyDUDE February 24, 2013 at 04:30 PM
I think the 24 hour news cycle and constant converage to these events tends to plant the seeds into a deranged mind of these violent events. I mean they tend to beat these violent stories into the ground and give the killer some sort of platform of importance. This feeds into other deranged people into doing a idea that might not otherwise been done. Clearly,with the amount of guns in the country and actual violent crime going down over the years overall in the USA these stories being sensationalized tend to sway the perception from the reality. The major component to the most common violent crimes are gangs , drugs and domestic violence of ones own family. These are the areas that are hardest to contain. The complete breakdown of the family has had far reaching effects. The society is more dysfunctional than ever and that sad trend is on the rise as Government tends to reward unwanted behaviors.
The Anti-Alinsky February 24, 2013 at 04:35 PM
Rees, the whole recall was The Public Unions vs. The People. The Public Unions fought for years for more and more from various governments. The People finally had enough and elected responsible leadership in the all three branches of state government. The Public Unions attempted to stifle the People through intimidation, stalling tactics, court action, and recalls. The People voted and told the Public Unions "we will not let you throw a hissy fit and get your way". For years, the Socialist Left has been arguing about "the will of the people", and when they finally expressed it, the Left attempted to subvert it. Maybe the Socialist Left doesn't know "the will of the people" as much as they think they do!!!
Rees Roberts February 24, 2013 at 05:04 PM
skinnyDUDE, I agree that the 24 hour news cycle and constant coverage has created a big price in today's society. I am not aware that violent crime has gone down. But that shouldn't be the discussion we have. It's just I wasn't aware of that. I just think we need to foster positive long term community, family and individual values. Once we do that it will become clearer what our decisions should be.
Luke February 24, 2013 at 10:31 PM
@Rees Yes, that's the part of your blog that I agreed with. In fact, you scored even better in your reply to me. Both parents investing in their kids to the best of their ability is the standard we should shoot for. I have slightly different views on what we call mental illness, but I do think you were correct about control issues. I just don't have the time and motivation to write about it at the moment.
The Anti-Alinsky February 25, 2013 at 03:13 AM
And exactly how do you plan on "fostering" those values? Liberals have been shoveling money into the inner cities for years, and not only have things not improved, they have gotten worse. And that too can be blamed on the Liberal agenda. It is no longer the parents' (or in many, many cases parent) responsibility to raise the child, social services does that for them. We continue to pay people to sit at home and do nothing while they collect money through multiple social programs. And OMG, if you give your kid a well deserved swat, social services has you locked up for hurting their self-esteem. Liberals have been fighting family values for years. We pay inner city mothers for every child they have, then penalize them if the father is actually involved in their lives. If your really, really want to make a change, we need to get people back to work, make them responsible for their actions, and hold them fully accountable when they break the law. In other words, it's time to say good-bye to the notion that self-esteem is the most important thing in this world, and make everyone responsible for their own lives!!!

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