Soapboxes – everyone has them and here’s one of mine…
I am sure, by now, you’ve heard of the horrific California shooting. If you haven’t, please go google, I’ll wait. The twisted individual who committed these acts of violence stated he blamed the ‘cruelty’ of ‘vicious and evil’ women for his actions. Moreover he blames his virginity for part of his hatred and that women would refuse him was shocking to him. This man was vile and insane. He was a misogynistic lunatic.
As with each new tragedy where the sick bastard uses a gun, the discussion comes up about more severe gun laws, mental health connections, and the like. I don’t jump on this bandwagon at all, but I admit there’s a flaw somewhere. Is it with gun control? Is it mentally unstable people who purchase the guns? Is it society and the news media? Is it parenting? These are the recent questions and comments I see after these events. So, which is it? I don’t know I don’t have the answers, just questions and my own opinions.
The recent events in California have caused the state to fight to restrict guns for people who are suspected of having mental health issues. One report mentioned where they would like family members to be able to go to the police to warn them and then the new law would prevent them from purchasing guns. Sure, that’s one step, but is that enough? Is that going to fix anything? The asshole who committed these acts of violence did so with a gun, killing 3 and injuring 13 more. He also killed 3 with a knife. Here in my local town, a man was recently beheaded in his home and the same happened a few years back to a young woman on a walk. In Pennsylvania a kid went on a stabbing frenzy at a school. Last week a 16-year-old was arrested in Oklahoma after stabbing another student. Yesterday a young girl lost her life when her classmate stabbed her to death. My point is these acts of violence happen all the time and with any weapon of choice. Maybe it’s not a question of the type of weapons.
Let’s touch on the mental health issue. Currently, unless someone is involuntarily held in a mental institution, there is nothing a family can do to stop a family member from purchasing a gun. How do you get mentally unstable people involuntarily committed? It’s harder than you think. While it varies by state, usually either a court or doctor has to do it. If you go to a court you’ll be asked some questions and they will decide if they feel there is an immediate threat, then there must be a hearing, then that person can get a second opinion, if they are declared mentally unstable. Do you see where this would be a bit of a snag? The family of the idiot in California went to the police who did a ‘care visit’ and didn’t find him a threat. Obviously, this guy was a threat and obviously his family knew, but there’s not a lot that can be done quickly. Keep in mind if the person is mentally unstable, but able to manipulate, a court or doctor or police may never be convinced they need to be detained. It seems to be a pretty fair assumption that this part of the ‘system’ is flawed.
Now, what about society and news media? It’s evident that the news media is covering far more than they used to 20+ years ago thanks to social media and new technology outlets allowing news to travel quickly. I think it’s pretty clear, also, that the news media will paint any picture they want about a victim, an assailant, a business, whomever and whatever. The most recent, in my mind, is that of Treyvon Martin who was shown in media as a 12 year-old, not a 6’2” 17 year-old. Does that make the loss of someone’s child easier? Absolutely not! At the end of the day he was a 17 year-old kid whose life was over way too early. Of course it’s tragic whenever a family loses a loved one no matter the situation, but the truth of the media painting a picture, is no less true. The media needs to be held responsible for fueling issues that their stories ignite. However, freedom of speech is just that – freedom of speech and painting whatever picture gets the most views.
Lastly, parenting…I see many flaws in this particular system. Parents need to step up and do their damn job. Technology is fantastic and it’s giving us possibilities never thought of 20+ years ago, but it’s destroying the minds of our kids at the same time. Computers, Smartphones, Tablets, Video Systems, and Televisions are NOT responsible for raising your children!!! I am a mother. I have every one of those items mentioned in my home. I also, however, have restrictions set on them at all times. To name a few, there are time limits, there are rules, and there are limitations to the types of games and movies allowed to be played or viewed. There are 4 and 5 years between my oldest and my 2 youngest. What we allow our nearly 17 year old to watch and play has changed as he has, but all of our rules are set based on not only age, but on what that particular child can grasp. Do I think violent video games and movies cause all the violence we see, especially in schools? No, obviously not – but it’s a contributing factor and you’re living in a fantasy world better than mine if you believe differently.
Parents are lazy now. Not all, maybe not most – but enough for our country to notice the difference. I don’t think technology is to blame, but I think it’s a huge factor. Even ‘ol Eminem says it plainly in one of his popular songs he made with Rihanna, ‘Love the way you lie’. Remember that song? It went viral, after Rhianna was bludgeoned by her then boyfriend, as an anthem to those in abusive relationships. The line I’m referring to is,
“You don’t get another chance
Life is no Nintendo game”
Kids don’t think like that much anymore. They are too caught up in extra lives for their games that they are losing touch with reality, with life and how precious it really is. Parents aren’t doing a good enough job instilling a sense of fear, of awareness, of responsibility, of knowledge, of love. Parents are failing their kids. I’m not perfect, I’ll never claim to be anywhere close to it, but at least I recognize what the real issue is – and haven’t you ever heard…it takes a village to raise a child. If our village and our parents are flawed, what happens to our kids?