Sunday, December 16, 2012

Jumping to Conclusions!

Just as this photo frame is murky, the details of the perpetrator and the circumstances are still murky and unclear as to what happened at Sandy Hook.  Our society has become one of " instant gratification".  If the details aren't forthcoming, they reach their own conclusions.

In the past, perpetrators were young men with mental issues who were loners and not part of society.  I agree with that.  In those instances it was found that they did have mental health issues.  We don't know that with certainty about this young man as yet.

Someone emailed me yesterday wanting to petition the White House to keep guns out of the hands of the "mentally deranged".  I believe that is already part of the laws on gun control.  That is, if the gun shop owner does a background check which I have found out is seldom done.

Let's be careful not to stigmatize someone because they are different, not socially prominent, and a loner.  Otherwise, people like Einstein, Steven Spielberg and many, to numerous to mention, would be stigmatized.  Genius usually is different.  They seldom are part of society.

That doesn't mean they are someone who would commit homicide.  I have two family members who are extremely brilliant.  I dón't know if genius would apply, but I know they were never part of the "group".  One has invented numerous things.  One of his inventions helps premature babies.  The other relative is brilliant with computer related games and devices.  Things I don't even understand.  He's done well.   But, growing up, both of these people marched to their own drummer.

Someone could have looked at them and said, "Uh oh" he fits the profile.  Be aware.

I'm NOT defending the perpetrators.  All the past tragedies have been beyond comprehension.

I think besides gun control of assault weapons, greater availability for mental health care without stereotyping, and a stop to the terribly violent shows on TV and in the movies, we need to open up to kids that are different and engage them in conversation early on and be their friends.

Possibly, and I say possibly, that action could help to prevent the loneliness and sadness that leads to violent acts, among other things.

Just my thoughts.
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norm said...

I normally go along with what you write regarding policy and politics, this time I have to add my two cents. Mass killings are part of the human condition, they have been going on a long long time, we just did not hear about them so much. The local paper here in Ohio ran an essay today with historic numbers going back to the 1850s. 1929 was the peak year for mass killings; it's part of what we are as humans. The idea that TV or video games are the cause is baloney. Call it a cancer and we are being more accurate.
The assault weapons on the other hand up the tally, there is really no place for them in a civil society. The crazy ones will still kill but maybe not so many.
As to your points of the stigma that those of us who walk a different path acquire-we need to protect those people, I'll agree, you were right on there.

Babs said...

Thanks Norm. I'm always open to more information and different viewpoints. Interesting information that you read! I appreciate your writing, truly.

Benne' Rockett said...

There are many things we don't provide our children - art and physical education are two tangibles that have been reduced to being ridiculous. When I was a counselor in a little alternative school (read a school for bad babies), the attitude of the district administrators and teachers towards these kids was negative. They formed their opinions based on whatever they had been taught themselves as children, and a strong belief in pseudo-statistical reports generated by the district to support their attitudes. They profiled the African American boys - "Oh, he'll be going to prison soon", based upon a study titled The School to Prison Pipeline. If they had read the study, they would have found out that poor families, and in this case, poor Black families, had risk factors that could be addressed. You see, poor families move a lot, from one neighborhood to another, based on lower rents. That means those children, change schools often with little opportunity to maintain attachments to students and staff. The other hindrance they face is lack of testing. When you move often, there is a higher risk of not absorbing the information being taught. As social beings, a kid without insecure attachments has a difficult time paying attention to what is being taught. They are focused on the social cues.

It's very complex, but the bottom line becomes a kid that is at risk for isolation, and possibly will use violence as a means to divert attention from the fact that he can read for example. Kids intuitively know how cruel human beings can be. Be known as the stupid kid, or be known as the scary kid. Not much of a choice.

My efforts to counsel these babies, which of course included being loving, was not well received at a disciplinary school. Our job apparently was not to reform or assist, but to bully, making the childs' life so miserable they would not want to return. That works for the kid that made a mistake. That attitude, of blaming their parents, their housing situation, the color of their skin, etc., doesn't mean anything to a kid that has to constantly navigate social climates that are hostile.

Gun control - yeah, of course. Control of peoples attitudes, inaccurate and abbreviated belief systems - good luck.

Tancho said...

Too bad that the gun issue has been turned into a political volley ball, when something like this happens. I believe it goes further and isn't as simplistic as "eliminate the guns". We need to look at and point some fingers at the responsibility of the people, parents would fit into that and then society.
For some reason our generation even though was enamored with Cowboys and Indians, we kids didn't take real guns and go and shoot the kids at school.....
Parents seemed to have spent more time instilling logic and slapping the crap out of you when you did bad things. The "feelings" of people were dealt with to the point where if you got bullied, you somehow dealt with it, and very few kids committed suicide because of it.
Not sure if we can ever go backwards to the "get a grip on it" like before, and meld the positive aspects of what we have learned in life with individual responsibility and have people deal with reality. It's not a rose colored world out there, no matter how many people want it to be or tell you that it is.
Now we will probably see tons resources wasted on dealing with this tragedy, when more time and money should be used to deal with the basic causes of what and why this was brought on.
As a side line, it appears that the mother knew that her son was a loose cannon, but did nothing about it.

Shannon said...

Curiosity has gotten the better of me and I have been doing some research in this area. There are a tremendous amount of statistics available that we can apply to this situation but I’m not sure they are really telling us a great deal. One thing I noticed though, is that other countries with high levels of gun ownership such as Serbia, Switzerland, Cyprus, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Uruguay, and Norway, have not had a mass murder in the last 100 years.

Michael Moore has the following to say about it, in what I thought was an interesting article, entitled “It’s the guns, but we all know it’s not the guns” at

“We are an easily frightened people and it is easy to manipulate us with fear. What are we so afraid of that we need to have 300 million guns in our homes? Who do we think is going to hurt us? Why are most of these guns in white suburban and rural homes? Maybe we should fix our race problem and our poverty problem (again, #1 in the industrialized world) and then maybe there would be fewer frustrated, frightened, angry people reaching for the gun in the drawer.”