Heads in the Sand – Mass Murders – Only in America
Ted Folkert – June 1, 2022
Being a parent is probably the most important and challenging endeavor that we face as adults. We go to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic, and to be introduced to proper choices in behavioral challenges as youngsters, teenagers and young adults. How much of it sticks varies with the individual based upon family upbringing and the way we feel about ourselves. But we can become parents without any education or training whatsoever, bring children into the world, and either accept or ignore the challenge of nurturing them into responsible members of society. There aren’t any parent police to assure proper parentage.
Trying to understand and analyze the behavior of others is difficult or impossible without having “walked a mile in their shoes” as the sage saying goes. What shoes have mass murderers walked in? That is the question. To answer it would be a critical first step in understanding and trying to create some assurance of greater sanity going forward.
What could motivate a teenage boy to have so much hatred or malice to convince him to murder others -knowing that it will likely end his own freedom or perhaps his own life? Could these decisions be well thought out? They must be thought out to some extent or the steps to plan the event or assemble the murder weaponry would not be taken.
Is the desire for public recognition a motivating factor? Do those who do such things feel left out, discriminated against, mistreated? Is it frustration with their lives? Do they have what I call the big three – helplessness, hopelessness, and despair? Are they trying to settle the score from personal mistreatment? Do they think that they will get revenge and then escape undiscovered – getting by with murder?
Of course there are no simple answers to these questions and no simple path of the causation of frustration identifiable – apparently no simple way to recognize these traits in someone who is prone to such carnage.
The solution to overcome the occurrence of such tragic events can be tossed around until the end of time without any resolution. It is a challenge for our behavioral counselors and medical professionals. School teachers may have the best vantage point to recognize such potential actions in wayward children. Perhaps they should be trained in recognizing such troubling attitudes in young students with periodic seminars to discover recognizable traits in youngsters which can be brought to the attention of parents and/or school officials so that they can be counseled or treated for psychological abnormalities which can lead to tragic actions. This should be priority number one for all mental health experts and grade school and high school teachers. I have always believed that teaching should be the highest paid profession, above all others. I can’t imagine any role in a child’s life more critical than the role of the teacher. Assigning such a burden on teachers seems to place unreasonable responsibility on teachers and may be a limiting factor in a commitment to educational careers, but it is the only place outside the home where children can be observed and analyzed to any worthwhile extent – the only place where such mental conditions can be observed over an extended period of time.
We all know, although the gun-lovers of the world are unlikely to admit, that the biggest problem isn’t only the perpetrators of such crimes, it is the availability of guns, especially those designed for killing people – like the ones used in all of these sad and tragic incidents which are becoming more frequent as we write or read this article.
This is what the National Rifle Association has done for the welfare of American life as they laugh all the way to the bank and deny any responsibility. The NRA must be curtailed, automatic weapons must be recalled, and the sale of them should be banned. The favorite defense of the gun-lovers of our world is the “right to bear arms” Second Amendment constitutional clause. This should be amended or removed from our constitution. These should be mandatory first steps along with assuring that our youngsters become responsible citizens with compassion, understanding, and ambition – the most important role of parentage, teaching, and counseling of our young. Good parents teach by example by living honest and compassionate lives and assuring that their children learn by their example.
Parents and teachers have the opportunity to provide our children with the principles and attitudes for peaceful and mutual respect. They can teach tolerance and understanding. It should be a priority of parentage and education.
But they cannot control guns. We all have to do that. We must keep guns out of the hands of the young without supervision. Finding a loaded gun in the locker of a second-grader certainly exemplifies our failure to take this challenge seriously. We must have legislators with the right principles to enact and enforce laws to assure a safe environment for all ages, particularly our young, who are helpless without our guidance.