Sun Dec 16, 2012, 06:39 PM
H2O Man (50,068 posts)
Blame & Responsibility
“The killer awoke before dawn.
He put his boots on,
And he walked on down the hall.”
-- Jim Morrison, The End
Adam Lanza decided to kill his mother, and as many human beings at an elementary school as possible. He dressed for the part in a manner that had meaning for him. He took the weapons and ammunition he thought necessary to commit the violence that would shock the nation. He loaded the guns, and he -- and he alone -- pulled the trigger.
It is normal, or at least as close to “normal” as is possible under such abnormal circumstances, for people to not only ask, “Why?” ….but to try to assign blame and responsibility to those who might have been able to prevent such a tragic events. Indeed, when these types of horrible mass-murders seem all too common, it is actually important that people, including you and I, engage in searches for answers.
Because such searches are important, it is essential that we do not lose track of the central fact that Adam is responsible for this outrageous example of man’s inhumanity to mankind. He killed those children and adults. And, without any question, he intended to do exactly that. The intense pain and suffering that he caused was the goal of his mission.
It is only after we recognize that Adam is fully responsible and can correctly be blamed for this brutal crime against humanity, that we can objectively evaluate any and all other factors that could have played a role in this. This search for answers includes a sequence of three important questions: What individual (psychological) and group (sociological) dynamics creates a person who fantasizes about, plans for, and then actually engages in this type of behavior? What can we, as individuals and as a society, do to prevent others from becoming such a person? And what can we do to prevent such individuals from having the capacity to maim and murder innocent victims?
It is obviously beyond debate that guns have played a significant role in the mass-shootings that so damage the social fabric of our culture. Thus, “gun control” is a valid topic for discussion. The balance between individual rights and group safety is clearly off kilter when a person like Adam can easily access the weapons of death as he did.
Likewise, it is fair to include topics such as mental illness, and public policies on “mental health care,” in our discussions. While we can all agree that mass-murderers are not “normal,” the truth is that ignorance about what mental illness is, and its relationship to violent crimes, helps to insure that there are gapping holes in the social safety net. In fact, people who suffer from a major mental illness are far, far more likely to be the victim of a violent crime, than to commit one.
The mass media plays a role in creating fear of the “insane mass-murderer,” of course; increased sales of their product depends upon this. Other factual errors in reporting enhances public misperceptions on everything from the “insanity defense” to where Mrs. Lanza was employed. It is fair to question if the media coverage of violent crimes serves to attract people like Adam, who want to make a public statement of hatred.
Issues including parenting, bullying, and school safety can also be very important. And hand-in-hand with these discussions goes the responsibility to educate one’s self, and to become an active participant in efforts to make society safer and less violent. We are at a point where nothing less than our best efforts, approached with an open mind, are required.
17 replies, 1122 views
Blame & Responsibility (Original post)
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Response to H2O Man (Original post)
Sun Dec 16, 2012, 06:43 PM
CaliforniaPeggy (109,830 posts)
1. As is usual, you make some very salient points, my dear H20 Man...
I applaud your effort, and I wish rather fervently that there were some way to implement them.
Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)
Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:15 PM
H2O Man (50,068 posts)
7. Thank you.
Did you see President Obama tonight? I have the feeling that, in the hours since Friday morning, he has reached the point where he is now preparing to confront the Unspeakable.