April 21, 2007

Violence in Our Society

This week we all watched with horror the violence at Virginia Tech. The day I first saw the news breaking, I'm ashamed to say my response was: "Oh well, another random institutional shooting" I did not even read any of the story until the next day.

I worked for the U.S. Postal Service for 8 years and I have heard all the lame jokes about how all postal workers are sociopaths and psychos. I've been treated to the loathsome phrase "going postal" to apply to any instance of me losing my temper just because I used to work there.

I think we have all seen over the last 20-40 years, that random outbreaks of violence are by no means limited to postal facilities. Today, only one instance of postal violence is in the top five instances of U.S. randomly, violent, mass attacks.

I believe there are many explanations:

*inability of the agressor to get help thanks to our societies aversion to institutionalization and the lack of funding and insurance coverage for mental health services. Mental health institutionalization has been replaced by prison and/or the death penalty.

*extreme pressure to be perfect

*lack of desire to get involved or speak up when you see someone who clearly needs help. This could be an individual being "picked on" in school or by their parents. It may also be seeing an individual who clearly displays violent tendencies

*no coordination of health records among providers and law enforcement. I realize this is "controversial" but without it, people who need help simply fall thru the cracks. One doctor may be aware of this persons history but their next doctor might not. The local police probably don't either.

*acceptability of profanity, name calling, physicality and murder in place of reasoned debate and discussion

*complete lack of respect for life in all its forms

*the absence of God. Not because God is absent but because too many people don't want Him around.

*lack of boundaries. Anything goes these days.

*easy accessiblity to porn, violent and sexually explicit music and videogames, graphic sexual and violent content on T.V., in the movies, and on the Web.

I am not excusing what Cho Seung-Hui did. The news has been filled with evidence that some people knew he had problems, but he fell through the cracks. There was not enough coordination of effort. Now it's too late.

The immediate reaction of many folks has been that if only everyone was armed, this never would have happened. I'm not buying that argument. If our first reaction is that we all need to have guns to feel safe, then something is terribly wrong with our society.

Long time readers of this blog know that I am a gun owner and a hunter, but I have no desire to see everyone armed. This incident illustrated, yet again, that some folks cannot be trusted to handle a gun responsibly. Owning and using a gun is a big responsibility. There will probably always be ways to get guns illegally and that is unfortunate.

Honestly, I barely trust some law enforcement people with guns, much less my neighbor. But, at least, the law enforcement folks have had extensive training and mental health screenings. Even there, we see some of them that probably should not have a gun, but there are more checks in place.

People have the right to defend themselves, yes. But, if you use your brains, your brawn and the tools at hand you can defend yourself without a gun. I could kill someone entering my home with a well placed hit of the letter opener on my desk. Even with a gun, there are no guarantees that violence will not be perpetrated upon you. I could be walking down the street and someone could decide to kill me by coming up behind me and ramming me with their car. I could be in church and someone could decide to blow a bomb. How are guns going to help me there? All I can do is make sure I'm in a state of grace at all times and have trust in the Lord.

At this time, I would like to offer my prayers for the victims and their families as well as the family of Cho Seung-Hui: May God Have Mercy on His Soul.


Blogger Ma Beck said...

Boy did you hit the nail on the head with that one.

April 21, 2007 6:22 PM  
Blogger Adoro te Devote said...


(I forgot you were a gun owner, too.)

I'm so irritated that all the political activists are turning this into a thing about guns. It never was about guns, but rather, about everything you stated.

And I could think of a thousand creative ways to ruin an assailants day without the use of a gun.

Self-defense is an attitude more than it is an action.

April 21, 2007 8:15 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

"self-defense is an attitude more than it is an action"

I like that.


April 22, 2007 8:29 AM  

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