My apologies if you don't wish to read this and it takes up your page. It was not my intention when I set out, and normally, I would happily hide it behind a cut. But this is something that I believe needs to be said, and hiding it behind a cut would defeat the purpose of writing it.
In a number of things, but we'll start the massive brain dump with the thing on the forefront of my mind, that makes my husband continually ask what's wrong with me…
Something horrible happened yesterday, 28 people were killed in the course of one man committing suicide. It was evil, regardless of what his personal issues were, that lead him to yesterday morning, it was evil. There is no changing that. Last night, before I went to bed, The Travel Yogi decided to post, what I consider to be, an anti-yogi status update. The call not to have a dialog about our issues as a culture that lead us to days like yesterday, but to further restrict guns – because a man intent on going on a killing spree was denied the ability to legally purchase the firearms. So, instead, he opted to take his mother's – before or after killing her. Gun control worked. Unfortunately, in the words of a legal beagle friend of mine, he decided to commit other crimes in order to obtain them.
I'm disappointed, because lost in all of this is something I consider to be the ultimate question – What is wrong with us, not as individuals, but as a culture? Out of all the vomit on FB and in the news, I've only seen this question asked twice, but not answered – or even seriously considered. Instead I see calls for more control, calls for less control, the occasional blame on the individual who actually perpetrated it (and who I will never name, because he doesn't deserve a name, in the same vein that I don't believe he deserves a burial better than being left out for the animals to scavange).
Now, going back to the anti-yogi stuff….Yoga is a process of self-knowledge and self-discovery. Using different branches, the goal is to shed into what is your higher self. We go out into the world, to show others how it can be, and that it can be done. We actively serve and provide a safe space for others to discover themselves. In relation to the topic, the focus was on the material tool – the guns used – not the intent, or the issues surrounding the person who chose to use a tool for an evil purpose. One of the major Hindu texts, the Bhagavad Gita, takes place on a battlefield, prior to the protagonist of the tale going to battle. He faces a serious quandary in regards to the idea of having to possibly kill a member of his family. It was a violation of the first Yama, Ahimsa (nonviolence). It's a quandary that many within the military and law enforcement field have had to face, and come to grips with. An ethical person will always have that issue, when faced with that kind of decision. A law-abiding citizen, who chooses to arm his/herself makes the choice to use their weapon in either defense. This man, chose to arm himself in offense – against children. For whatever reason, whether it be a mental disease or lapse, he premeditated the death of someone, and that someone ended up being mostly innocent children. This is not a case of SpiderMan, or The Mask, where an evil spirit rides a person and makes them do these horrible things. It was the choice of a man, not the weapon.
To go back to my question…what's wrong with us as a culture? That makes people jump to killing someone, instead of talking, or dealing with their anger in a constructive manner? It's not movies, it's not video games. Many of these weapons have been around for decades, much longer than I've been alive. Yet in recent times, it took a sudden turn for the worst. Is it people lacking respect for each other? For their lives? Probably. We don't actually talk anymore. We're so focused on getting what we want, and when we want it, that we don't sit back and take in what we actually have. Nor do we interact with people. We cut people off on the roads, instead of letting them merge, because that car length is the difference between arriving 10 minutes early and being late. We sit on the phone all the time, because paying attention to work, or whoever called us, is more important than seeing that person trying to cross the crosswalk with the right-of-way. We ignore the accidents, crimes, or the injured people we see – because we're running late. We teach our children that material wealth is more important that watching the sun set, or going out to play on a nice day. We teach them that these things are theirs, by right, and if anyone else tries to take them, Mommy and Daddy will come in to yell at that kid's parents. We teach them to cower in front of anyone who demands anything from them, because standing for yourself is wrong. We reward bullies for their behaviour, when it reaches the boiling point that the bullied lashes out, because no one would listen to them. And as a result, those kids are punished and taught to sit back and "take it." Yet, we coddle our kids. We don't let them participate in sports where there are winners and losers – for the sake of their self-esteem. We don't teach them humility and how to win graciously. We teach them that they are all the same; that trying their best doesn't gain them any kind of recognition. Because pride, when coupled with humility, is somehow evil. Believing in your own greatness is looked down upon, but believing in your misery is somehow a virtue.
The problem, is that the world, however we view it in its idealistic phase, does not allow for these things. These kids, who think they're "hot shit", when they go to get a job and find out that they are underqualified and lack the skills for the job they claim is right for them lash out. They're unprepared an emotionally immature to deal with their own failings, because they've never been allowed to fail. Some of them get a late lesson and recover, others go on sprees of violence – whether it's against themselves or others. It's because somewhere, WE FAILED THEM. Our "mind our business" mentality is what is killing us. Those of us who see this, and say nothing are at fault. We, as a society, have gotten too PC and overly inclusive to have the fortitude to stand up when we need to – because we're afraid of offending someone.
As a country, we once had values. They were espoused in the Declaration of Independence and elaborated upon in the Bill of Rights and the various writings of our Founding Fathers. What are our values now? Freedom for everyone? The right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness? We are selfish. Our pursuit of happiness is greed. Our liberty is a joke. And life? Some, and this includes some of those brave teachers who really fulfill the definition of a hero, are willing to defend those who can't defend themselves, against those who wish to do them harm. They are willing to stand up and say something is wrong and protect the innocent who need their protection.
And the problem with the arguments today, is the call to remove a tool from an ethical citizen's arsenal, for providing for both themselves and their loved ones. All because others are afraid and unwilling to stand up for themselves.
I honestly think that the answer to your prime question is that we, as a Nation and as a culture have decided to abdicate our sense of responsibility to the group instead of retaining it as an individual and exercising it.
Gun controlists say that the gun is to blame. Gun rightists say that the lack of armed people is to blame. Yes, these are overly generalized, but at their respective cores, that is what is being said from my perspective.
The schools do not teach failure any more, parents do not instill discipline, self respect or resiliency. I can only speak for what myself and my brother grew up with, but we were brought up with several core ideas.
Respect those around you and respect yourself and carry yourself with pride in who you are, what you are and what you can bring to the table.
When you fall down, you are obligated to get back up, no matter how hard it is, and if you can’t do it on your own, ask for help. Knowing when you are in over your head and knowing how to swallow your pride and ask for help is a critical life skill.
What I see is a lack of that. Granted I have little room to speak because I choose not to have children, but I see it all too often. People that have children don’t know why they want to be parents and abdicate the raising of that child to the schools, television and pop culture.
It would be rude of me to point out what I think is wrong without proposing a solution, so here are some of my ideas.
Parenting classes taught in the schools.
Finding a way to remove the stigma from mental healthcare and allowing for better access to in-patient healthcare versus just tossing the mentally ill in jail.
We, as a country need to find community where we live and reach out to those that live around us and not just through the church where we only see people like ourselves.
I don’t know where we got away from it, but it still takes a village to raise a child perspective and context are essential for developing minds especially in our ever-chaning world.
I totally agree with you. I think we’re kinda saying mostly the same thing, just different phrasing and from different perspectives. Lack of involved parenting is a huge issue (but from what it sounds like, this guy had a very involved mother). We’ve pretty much failed these kids on all levels.
While I do think we need to work on dealing with mental health issues, I’m waiting on actual specifics on this guy, because so far it’s all supposition that he had mental health issues. His family easily had access to help for him, if it was needed, so this wasn’t an access thing. Maybe a denial issue, but this kid didn’t come from the inner city, or even lower to mid-middle class America. He was upper middle class.
We got away from it when we decided that everything was ok. That there are no boundaries and saying “no” became taboo.