The first school shooting that I remember was at Lindhurst High School on May 1, 1992. With so many random acts of violence in recent years, this event is hardly remembered outside of the region. In our region it definitely changed all of us and still affects us to this day. With each random act of violence whether at a school, workplace, shopping mall, or church the cry goes out to ban certain types of guns, increase gun registration requirements, limit purchases of ammo, take guns away from people. Guns are possibly the easiest way for these crimes to be perpetuated because of our Second Amendment rights, which most of us hold dear as patriots. If guns were not readily available then it would be knives, clubs, pitchforks or any other implements that could be used as a weapon.
What I feel has happened in recent decades is the disconnect of people knowing people. We used to know our family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers on a more personal level. We didn’t have the distraction of the cell phone, internet, social media. We used to watch out for each other and try to help each other. When a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker was having issues, we helped them, got them help, or got the authorities involved if we were worried about the safety of them and others. This disconnect is the main reason so many people are dying from random acts of violence, it’s not just guns.
What we need is a worldwide effort to once again get to know people around us and to learn how to identify possible traits, triggers, or other psychological issues that might lead people to these acts of violence. We need to be trained on how to help others, how to listen and identify folks who really need help and know what to do about it. Then we need to help them to get better. We need more places where people can get help if needed. We need a new focus on community programs to help folks who need it and for them to know how to get it.
My own personal issue involves losing a family member to a violent crime that was perpetuated by a person who was known to need help. His own family and even the local police knew of his issues but could not get help, didn’t know what to do for help, or could not get him into psychiatric care because there was no room. It is sad to think there is no system for this. This person needed help and there was no place to get it. Let’s get help to people who need it. Let’s get to know our fellow human being and turn the tide on violence.
Forget about the guns, think about the people.
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