There's been a lot of questions raised about the shooters last week. I do hope that despite the deaths of the perpetrators that more answers can be found. However, I don't believe that any answers are simple. I do agree that today isn't the day to make changes. I know that some people want to use the wave of horror to obtain the political will to push forth legislation, but I don't think the best legislation is derived when we are at our most emotional (see Patriot Act).
The most obvious reaction are gun laws need to be tightened. Now, I don't personally disagree that high powered assault weapons should be banned or made much more difficult to obtain, but to say that would prevent all such incidences, such as these, is somewhat simplistic. At best, maybe the number of deaths or number of incidences could be reduced, but similar to the issues with drugs, the problem isn't the supply, it's the demand. Now I don't think cocaine should be available in Walgreens nor do I think assault weapons should be as easy to obtain as Super Soakers. However, instead I ask why do we want these items so badly? I think that might give us more of a clue.
The other "answer" I've seen is the lack of God in our schools/lives. Because no one has ever killed in the name of God. Again, very simplistic. I do think people feel a need to be a part of something larger than themselves, and religion, for some, has something to offer, but it's not a complete solution, and when used badly, it can be the root of the problem. How often are people marginalized because of religion? How often is murder committed in the name of someone's religion?
We need to look at our society. Why does this seem to happen more in the U.S. than other countries that are relatively similar to us culturally (Western Europe and Canada)? The Canadians love their hunting weapons, but they seem to turn them on each other less than we do. These other countries are also, for the most part, a lot less religious than we are as a whole, so that doesn't explain it either.
Now, this is not to make excuses for a crazed lunatic that does terrible things. There will always be people who commit atrocities no matter what we do. I'm not sure that we can ever eradicate that truth about humanity. But I do fear that a culture that doesn't stand against violence, a culture where more and more people feel marginalized either because jobs are scarce, or resources to get help with mental health issues or life's troubles are being eradicated, or teachers are being laid off and those kids who need that extra help or support aren't getting it - that is a culture where such occurrences are more likely to occur.
As often is the case, this is a complex situation that requires complex solutions looking at multiple areas of our society. We need to pull together to find those answers instead of doing what we normally do: point fingers at each other and blaming the political agenda of "the other guys". That is not problem solving - that's opportunism. Perhaps, it's our inability to come together, see everyone as part of the whole, that is the root of the problem?
In the meantime, hug your loved ones, tell them you love them, and if you see someone falling through the cracks, maybe do something to offer them a hand.