The Colorado shootings — shifting the blame and gun control

When I read that the Colorado shooter’s mother told ABC news, “you’ve got the right person,”  I found that deeply disturbing.   What did she know or suspect about her son, and what steps, if any, could she, should she have taken that might have prevented this tragedy from happening.  Twelve people dead, 58 injured.  (Update:  ABC News has confirmed that another misquote has been made.  Mrs. Holmes, through her attorney, issued a statement where she said her comment, “you’ve got the right person” to the ABC News reporter, was in reference to herself, not her son, as she had no knowledge of any shooting when he contacted her.)

We, as a society, go through these massacres every few years.  We’re appalled, we grieve for the victims, we worry about the survivors and their families, and then after a while we carry on with our lives until the next tragedy occurs.  And then we start the cycle all over again, and ask ourselves, why, how could this happen.

It happens because we let it happen.  The same people who called for the firing of Rush Limbaugh over his Sandra Fluke remark, are also the same people who cry freedom of speech when it comes to holding Hollywood accountable for the violence and hate-filled movies, television crime dramas, and video games that permeate the air waves.  We’re told if we don’t like them, then don’t go to the theaters or switch the channel.  How many of us have memories that are with us today of things we read, saw and heard as children. How many of us can point to an event that shaped the rest of our lives or colored our outlook.  Then we wonder how the James Holmeses of the world grow up and develop warped, sick minds that eventually crack with the resultant massacres.

How many parents are in denial when their children are bullying other children at school?   “Not my child, he/she wouldn’t do that.”  How many parents want to be a friend to their children rather than a parent.  When’s the last time those parents have gone into their childrens’ rooms, and taken a good look not only around the room, but in the drawers, closets, what’s on the computer, the cell phone, in the books.   But then, “I can’t do that, that’s an invasion of their privacy.”  And thus, the Dylan Klebolds of the world are born.

How many of our government officials, educational leaders, and military personnel, are now so afraid of being called bigots and racists, that they avoid the clear warning signs of potential terrorists and terrorism within their ranks, until the Nidal Hasans erupt and kill.   More people dead, some injured for life, family lives shattered in the name of political correctness.

Here in Chicago, gang-bangers have been mainly responsible for over 240 homicides committed since the beginning of the year, up 40% over last year, mostly in the African-American and Latino communities.  Flash mob violence has spilled over into the upper north Michigan Avenue/Gold Coast area, and now into Lincoln Park.  Yet, our local media, government and police officials refuse to call the flash mob violence black on white crime, because that’s racist.  We don’t want to offend that segment of our society as it spins violently out of control.

And now our airwaves, twitterfeeds, and print media are filled with the all-knowing experts and citizenry calling for more gun control.  Yes, that the answer.  From my viewpoint, gun control is not the answer because criminals and those who want to commit violent crimes will always have guns or find a way to get them.  Law-abiding citizens who own guns, and use them responsibly whether for sport or hunting, will be the ones who are disarmed.  And I am very uncomfortable with the idea of only the police and criminals being the ones who have the guns.

There will always be mentally ill people among us who will put some of us at grave risk.  James Holmes is such a person. Seung-Hui Cho was another at Virginia Tech.

  • What warning signs were there, if any, that could have been recognized early enough to have saved lives.
  • What kind of training and/or counseling is available for teachers to recognize the signs and alert parents that they need to seek help for their children.
  • How much more involved should parents be in their children’s lives to ensure that the grow up to be responsible citizens.
  • What should we, as citizens demand of our pop culture and government to help eradicate the violence surrounding ourselves and our children.
  • What can we do ourselves when we see something odd or someone acting unusual, instead of waiting until it’s too late, and then we say, “you know, I had a feeling about him.”

These are some of the discussions we should be having, and not the current, convenient meme of gun control.  But having these discussions means taking ourselves to task, as well as our current political and cultural values.  That means accepting blame, where in today’s America, it’s all about shifting the blame.

Until we, collectively as a nation, are ready to have a frank discussion among ourselves as to the root causes of this violence, and recognize that we hold the answer, then all the gun control laws, bans, restrictions, will just be a remedial panacea for what ills the nation.  And the countdown to another massacre begins.

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