With this past week's tragedy in Aurora, CO there are lots of different discussions about guns. Some people are saying we should implement gun control while others are saying that if more people in the theater had weapons to defend themselves there would have been less loss of life. Opinions are rampant, facts and data are elusive, so I won't be discussing that. Actually, what concerns me more and more every time I see this sort of thing is, "What are we doing that has our young men turning into mass murderers?"
That is the uncomfortable question. With a tragedy where one person causes all the carnage, it is easy to point the blame at that individual and wipe our hands of it. If this only happened once a generation, perhaps that would be okay. However, this type of lone gunman with no logical reason event seems to be happening more often (please correct me if my emotional numbers don't match the real numbers) than before. In fact, this current tragedy bookends with the much earlier Columbine shootings in the same area. It's about time we look at ourselves, as individuals, as communities and as a society at large about what our responsibility in these events is.
Responsibility (not blame)
Notice I said responsibility and not blame. People often collapse these two terms together and have them mean the same thing. For the purposes of this article I want to distinguish that blame is allocation of fault while responsibility is being cause in the matter. Our responsibility in these tragedies should be to learn from them and find out why they happened. Is it guns? Is it mental health care? Is it bullying? Is it parenting? Is it video games? Is it the fact that the air is thinner in Colorado? It is easy to get defensive when these questions get asked, who wants to be at fault for any of this? That is why I bring up responsibility, you may not want to be at fault but hopefully you want to be able to make a difference. By seeing where you (and I am using the plural you that English lacks along with the singular you) were cause in the matter you have the opportunity to make a difference in the future.
For myself I see a certain disconnectedness with the rest of the people around me. I ride the bus at all manners of the night and day. I see lots of lonely, lots of crazy, lots of belligerent and I tend to ignore it with the hope that it will just go away. It seems to when they get off the bus, or when I do, but it didn't go away it just moved to another place. I don't know how I should react or what I should do but perhaps me being conscious of the connectedness of all these people in our lives could start me down the path. Heck, it might even make a difference with one person. I'd probably never know but perhaps I don't need to. Perhaps that's another way I'm responsible, only taking actions when I know the results rather than having a little faith in the difference I can make. It's a thought I'll keep pondering.
What are your thoughts? Have you seen other discussions about the tough questions we should be asking ourselves after these tragedies? Let me know about them in the comments.