Society and shootings

To the editor:

Are community and suicidal shooters connected?

The two seem so far apart, yet the suicidal shooter, usually male, usually young, with a death wish, are connected. As a community, are we responsible? Have we fostered kindness in our homes, generosity towards our neighbor, helped the sick, protected the dignity of the aged?

When we allow violence on our viewing screens, of whatever device or when we show disrespect to elders, officials and make sarcastic quips to one another, it may be clever, but others learn what we value. When we have not time to visit our parents in the elders home, because we are too busy with other more important things, how do our children regard our behavior? Do we not teach by example?

Have we cherished the children given us as gifts and not as unfortunate challenges to our jobs and comfort? Have we purchased items, things, services that are really symbols of our social ability to buy cultural acceptance ? Are the values we hold movable and easily amended to suit the situation at hand?

We are all connected; as John Donne’s famous poetic line says, “No man is an Island.” When we have individuals in our community who feel so terribly alienated and marginalized and desire to violently ” kill,” it’s time to look at the “community.” When the individual person feels so strongly a hatred for fellow human beings, we must look inward. Yes, there are issues of guns and mental illness, even violent video games. But we have to come to see the larger more profound bases of community behavior, how we treat one another. If we have locked out of our society the values of compassion, sacrifice, and respect for one another, then we have opened ourselves to violence, financial greed and consumerism. You end with a society that can easily marginalize the elderly, the unborn, the mentally weak. As a community we have to consider everyone and to see everyone with their God-given dignity.

These people who desire to commit multiple crimes of random murder and ultimately suicide, scream in symbolic voices wanting the attention by venting their anger and rage on random human beings. We are all connected as human persons. The answer to these multiple shootings does not take a Presidential committee to investigate; it can be humbly found in the way, we as individuals live with others in community.


Lake Linden