Can More Love Help Prevent Another Newtown Shooting?

[ 0 ] January 9, 2013 |

Last week the children in Newtown, Conn., went back to school. More stories about random shootings make momentary headlines. And although there is still some news about the quaint Connecticut town soon, I am afraid, the Newtown tragedy will fade as things get back to “normal.”

Related: Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Fights Gun Lobby After Newtown Shooting 

Since the shootings we have heard from the commentators, police, mental health specialists, the clergy, and yes, the NRA [National Rifle Association] for solutions. I have heard countless individuals punting the problem to someone or something else. On Facebook and with every teddy bear and candle left for the victims, we prayed. It makes us feel like we are doing something. However, punting the problem to God or anything else, does little to address the real issue.

Some suggest we provide better mental health services to identify would be killers. Again, passing the problem over. Let the government and health care system figure this out. True, mental health services could be significantly improved. But it isn’t the solution.

Others blame violent video games, TV, and movies. And while I agree that these pastimes might contribute to the objectification of human beings, not everyone who has ever watched a violent movie or played a violent video game ends up a mass murderer. Hardly. Plus, video games, TV, and movies are not something that most of us are in a position to change.

Related: Connecticut School Shooting – Finding Hope Through Grief

Newtown supporters in NYC

The NRA’s solution to put guns in the hands of good guys and security in the schools is the most transparent “it’s not me” solution out there. It isn’t a gun problem that creates mass murders. However, why anyone needs a semi-automatic with clips that can kill many in seconds elude me. When the Second Amendment was written, it was one gun and one bullet at a time. The NRA needs to give this one up. But we still won’t stop the killing.

The bottom-line problem: It’s us. We live in a society in which humanity is someone else’s problem. “I am fine,” we say to ourselves.  We don’t recognize the violence we are capable of committing every day. Many are not willing to look inside to see how violence can manifest in the things we accept as “normal.”

Violence isn’t just physical. Any action in which a person is seen as only an object and a lesser human being is violent by itself. Look at some random acts of violence that don’t require an AK-47. How about: Gossip? Hurtful back-talking? Blaming? Bullying? Shouting in anger to get a point across? Bemoaning another’s accomplishments, hopeful they will be “taken down a few pegs” — as I was once told. How hurtful those things are.  How violent. Yet we accept these things as “normal” – or at least not violent.

Related: How to Protect Your Child From Hazing 

We pass on the gossip and feel superior doing so. Soon gossip becomes truth when it is repeated enough. Our culture has taught that we can boost ourselves by the demise of another. Unless we are willing to change that behavior in ourselves we are lost. None of us are perfect. Many don’t even recognize their behavior as violent. Perhaps if we just pledged to ourselves to catch those random acts of violence toward another person we could condition ourselves to be more compassionate the next time. If we don’t, we will just continue to accept that hurting others, in whatever form, is A-OK. We can’t afford to foster the next mass killer by allowing everyday violence.

So instead of pushing the problem off to the government, the police, the mental health specialists, the gun dealers, and God, let’s pledge to ourselves to take on building a world with more compassion and love for humanity. It is the one thing we as individuals can do. 

It’s the best New Year’s resolution I can think of.

 

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Category: Loss & Grieving, Relationships, Views on the News

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About Susan Wysocki, WHNP, FAANP: Susan Wysocki is the President at iWoman's Health, which highlights insight, information and interconnections about health issues for women. iWomansHealth will be launched on the web in the near future, stay tuned for updates. Susan [...]
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