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I'm sad, and my brain is going 4 ways from Friday on this one.

After one too many school shootings in a random period of time, I’ve started wondering: what prevents carnage?

Many people sit back and pontificate on the reasons for these events-they listen to “goth” music, they’re crazy, someone hurt them, they like power, they like the idea of posthumous fame. I find people talking about how it’s all because we don’t beat our children anymore, we let them do anything, it’s all about what THEY want, and we don’t actually punish people, we allow more rights to the criminal than the victim

Let’s assume that it’s true, that we are easier on children, and people in this day and age. How do we know? It’s like saying that there’s more snow now-it’s difficult for me to judge solely on experience since my memories of snow tend to be from when I was 3 feet tall. My experiences have been colored by who and what I was. If my parents used corporal punishment when I was a child, perhaps I might feel that kids these days “get a free ride”.

Most statistics will show that violent crimes, overall, are lower now. What’s changed? The constant influx of CNN and Fox and papers on our door steps every morning. The internet, showing us every single bad event from every corner of the world if you want. Bad news sells papers, and draws readers.

Bad things have always happened. They will continue to happen. There will always be the anomaly in the crowd, someone will always be a little off. This is part and parcel of being human, of accepting the limitations that are placed on our race at birth. Some of us are crazy, but not homicidal. Some are nudged in that direction, and a few, the rare few, just don’t care. Are they evil? That seems to be the simple explanation that helps make people feel better. It’s so much easier to sweep the explanation under a carpet of “bad” instead of really understanding what happened, and working to prevent it.

How many cases of child abuse, physical, emotional, sexual, are never discovered, never reported? What is the effect on the psyche of a child, especially in a culture which revers guns, torture and war as a valid solution to a problem, and glorifys these things? How long can a mind resist the constant barrage of violent physical solutions before they act on them? How long can a mind resist the lure of fame for no good reason? How long can a mind stay strong when rooted in a society which does not truly value things like progress, mercy or compassion, despite is supposed “Christian” overtones and beliefs?

I rea
d comments and posts from people saying we’re too soft on crime, and yet no one addressing the issues that cause the crime-poverty, loss of hope, lack of opportuniy, apathy towards those less fortunate. I hear people talking about “moochers” on welfare, and how single mothers should have been more careful who they breed with, in case they turn out to be wife beaters. Because we all know that the victim is responsible for someone else beating them down, figuratively or not.

Society doesn’t care-it doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your friends, because it’s easier to ignore, to walk on by, to believe the person on welfare is a junkie instead of someone who had a bad break. It’s easier to assume that the single mother was “dumb” enough to enter into a relationship with someone who beats them, than to assume that the abuser is the one who deserves to be punished. Isn’t it always easier to blame the victim? And isn’t that what we used to do to rape victims, say “they shouldn’t have worn that dress/danced that way/talked to me/walked down the street?”

Let’s assume that the victims in the latest school shootings were “stupid” to have not known that some strange man walking in their parking lot shouldn’t have been there. They were foolish enough to not be protected from him.

But why should the victim assume the guilt? And should they? Are they less blameworthy being “innocent” Amish people than say, an abused woman down on her luck who can’t catch a break? Are they ‘bad” as well? Should they be locked away too?

You blame the victim, you blame society, you blame everyone except for the person who did the deed, and you create people who will never ever take responsibility for their actions when they DO commit a crime. If someone kills little girls because he was caught with his pants down years ago, does it make it the fault of those little girls, and by extension, not the killer’s fault? Can we claim that those little girls are the true root of their own murder?

Of course we can’t. But so long as we insist on finding blame and reason in the events of the past, in slights, mistakes, in the TV and music, we will never find an acceptable reason. People deal with problems violently because they lack the capacity to do much else, and they life in a world where every single sentence must be validated and applauded. They live in a world that insists you’re special, even when you aren’t. And when the chips fall as they may. And you discover that you aren’t actually special, what then?

You pick up a gun, you find a reason, and you go to town.

I believe that our culture is at a crossroads of sorts-that we can go one of two ways. We can decide to become compassionate yet firm “keepers” of each other, or we can decide that our friends, our coworkers, the people we live next to, aren’t worth our time or effort, and say the hell with it, because ME, I’M more important.

How we live reflects who we are. And it’s high time that we all hitched up our big girl pants, and acted accordingly.

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Good post--I wrote a related post today, but I'm more on the blame side of the equation. It's not music or videogames, but my country's constant march to war that seems to be fueling this (at least to me).

I'm at a loss really when it comes to these matters. I don't want to believe that people can be purely evil, so the thought that helps my simple mind through it all is that basically, even as humans, we are still animals. Animals that have learned to go against animalistic needs, desires, and impulses, and some people just aren't able to do that. I think for whatever reason, those people that have commited terrible crimes were born un-evolved; they are wild animals. You can't trust wild animals not to tear you apart in fear, or anger, or mistrust. They are an anomaly. I think that it's easy for us to blame childhoods, methods of punishment, divorce, lack of dicipline, etc, but can't we all find our own little shred of insanity if we dig deep enough? Yeah, okay, my dad was an alcoholic and I was fat and teased every day of my life; you don't catch me out there with a machete whacking off people's heads. But I bet if I did everyone would say it was because my Dad was a drunk. I think that people that go on killing sprees and kidnap and rape... I think they were wired wrong. At least that is what I want to believe. I just don't want to believe that we as a human race could contain that much evil.

I'll accept that they were wired wrong I guess. Still, we all have issues and we don't shoot up a schoolhouse.

Falling asleep. I'll think more about it tomorrow.

Meantime, let's not put Uzi's in the hands of the teachers just yet.

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