I think the shootings we’ve seen the last few years have been very tragic and sad, and I mostly have not wanted to chime in on them because of the weight of the whole thing. When people’s lives, children’s lives are being lost, I’ve felt it better to be silent and grieve and ponder first, before bringing reason and explanations to the table. That’s one thing that enrages me to no extent—people who start explaining it and blaming it and labeling it and pointing the finger at some factor or group or person, before just feeling it.
I think explaining shootings, numbs us from feeling the reality of the shootings.
Making sense of it can be a way to avoid it.
The immediate reaction to blame some person or group for the shooting can very often be a shortcut through the depth of it.
I don’t want to be insensitive or naive, because I realize the view from my angle could leave many factors out, but I’ve seen enough posts and explanations going around to see that there is a missing factor (in my opinion), a big missing factor, that I don’t think many people want to face.
I could be wrong. But this is what I feel about it…
I don’t know why a human would take another humans life. I can’t imagine it.
I’ve hated people.
I’ve had people steal from me.
Lie about me.
I’ve been so pissed off I thought I would pass out.
Hurt so bad I cried all night.
So stressed out that I developed a rash on my arm.
I’ve wanted to slash someones tires.
I’ve wanted to get even.
I’ve wanted to retaliate. To tell someone “off.”
I’ve imagined punching someone in the face.
But never taking someones life.
Not that I’m holy. But no one has crossed that line with me yet. Perhaps, if my wife or kids or another loved one was in danger, that could be possible, and I could find the place in me that would take someones life. But life hasn’t presented me those situations yet and I hope it never does.
So, I understand anger, and hatred and bitterness and un-forgiveness and even vengeance to some extent, but not murder. So, on some level, I realize I don’t deserve to comment, fully, on the subject.
But I don’t think it’s violent video games.
I don’t think it’s Hollywood.
I don’t think it’s the NRA.
I don’t think it’s Republicans.
I don’t think it’s drugs or alcohol.
I don’t think it’s Religion.
So what is it?
I think, maybe, a human who needs to take another humans life is missing something.
Love? Affection? Acceptance? Confidence? Belonging? Approval? Identity? Self worth? Value?
Are people who murder people angry? Probably.
Are they depressed? Probably.
Are they sad? Probably?
Are they looking to get even? Seems like it.
Are the using this outrageous act as a form of justice? Probably.
If love is what we all say it is—selfless, a thing that puts others first, that would lay it’s life down for a friend—then is a person who would take another persons life missing love? Seems true. Or at least, doesn’t feel loved or is aware of love.
I guess this statement would feel true in this context; a person who doesn’t love another, doesn’t love themselves. A person who would take another life, and sees no value in another’s life, probably doesn’t see it in their own life.
If I hate you, I hate myself.
If I would hurt you, I feel hurt.
If I’m willing to not see you as invaluable—a life worth taking—I probably don’t see myself as valuable either.
So how does a human come to see themselves as invaluable?
How does a human come to feel that much pain?
To feel so unloved?
To have so many suppressed and bottled feelings that it would lead to this sort of explosive and insane reaction?
I think it’s abuse.
Emotional, physical, spiritual, verbal abuse.
And I think it happens way before video games and R rated movies. Long before society can influence you, I think something else does—parents.
And it’s tough to say this because most parents, even parents who abuse their kids, deeply love their kids. And I think that’s probably one of the most paradoxical and crazy and lengthy subjects (for another day)—how a parent would simultaneously give their life for their kid, and in the same day abuse their kid…all in the name of love. It’s fucked up, but true.
I agree, the NRA should be regulated and it’s money shouldn’t control this debate.
I agree, some video games are nuts and can foster and numb a kids sensitivities to reality.
I agree, drugs and alcohol can inhibit someones decision making.
I agree, when it’s time to kill, and someone wants to kill, anything—a stick, a stone, a hammer, a gun, a video game, a website—something will aide in the process. But that something that aids is not where it all began.
I think it begins earlier…in the home.
I think we live in a suppressed culture. A culture that justifies physical and verbal and emotional abuse and calls it “respecting your elders,” “religion,” “honoring your parents,” “biblical teaching, “religion,” or “etiquette.” I think that, in our culture, much wrong goes on in the name of what is right.
I know a family who’s grandmother described a 6 mo old, crying for her mom to pick her up as, a Childs “sin nature.” So, a baby—who doesn’t know how to use words, who’s doing what it can to let it’s mom know that it feels scared, or unsafe, or cold, or hungry, or just wants to be close—is sinning.
Communication, in this example, is sinful and wrong.
Expressing emotion, is sinful and wrong.
Being honest, is sinful and wrong.
A babies non-ego, non-selfish, innocent attempts communicate with their parent, is described by the parent as evil, and is responded to with correction. Either avoiding the child, or swatting the child. Yes, swatting a child at 6 months old. Because this child is doing something wrong, and needs to corrected.
And I’m not trying to turn this into a religions or theological discussion. But the way we view our kids matters.
If a) we don’t think they have the right to speak their mind, show emotions, be honest and b) they get corrected and punished via—mouths being washed out with soap, silence, yelling, and 20 or more hits with a “spanking stick” (from true stories), the child will ultimately view the world as an unsafe place and learn to suppress their true emotions, their true thoughts, their true selves until their old enough and strong enough and able enough to do so.
I know a family who spanked their kid and this was the rule “I’m going to give you 5 hits. If you move or flinch or make one sound, I’m giving you 5 more.” This spanking session would go on for minutes, and sometimes even hours.
Again, the weird and tough and crazy thing here is—these parents love their kids.
But, love or not, this is still a problem. And it’s been going on in houses all across America for the last hundred or more years.
And I don’t think this is just in religious households. I think a lot of households have this struggle. A parent, using their physical or logical or economical right to manipulate or control or force a kid into a certain mold. Because I’m bigger, faster, stronger, and I pay the bills, you WILL DO WHAT I SAY!
And look it up in psychology. They say a human develops 90% of it’s communication style and it’s personality by the age of 5. If this is true…
…most of the wounds we all have are planted and inserted into us before we even know how to talk, write, or keep the bed dry at night.
I don’t think humans decide to murder when they pass hunters safety, get a drivers license, or watch horror movies. I think those things come in far into their journey and give an outlet, a voice, and often—a choice—to a person who never had one. I think humans learn at a very young age if they’re loved, adored, wanted, and important. They learn this through the love and affection and attention of their care givers. Many Baby Boomers, and Generation Y and X and Z, and Millennials, were, and are hurt by their parents, and struggle to feel loved and wanted and needed by the world around them.
I think the problem starts at home, before it grows and is expressed anywhere else.
Again, this is me describing this from my angle, and like I said, it could be narrow. But mental health, emotional health, and home life, and parenting is rarely brought up in these viral conversations about guns and violence and why people do what they do.
Yes, there’s a place every human must come to; where they take responsibility for their actions, and, regardless of their upbringing, own their own actions and behavior.
But a lot of these kids still live at home.
A lot of these kids had super rough home lives.
A lot of these kids had parents, who loved them, or said they did, and treated them like garbage and sinful and unimportant.
A lot of these kids had parents who we’re just hard on them.
Spanked too much; disproportionally to the scenario.
A lot of people did not receive love when they we’re little, and, to some extent, we cannot blame them for that.
On some level, parents are to blame.
Am I advocating that teenage kids are not held responsible? No.
Am I saying kids can do whatever they want? No.
But I am saying I’ve rarely seen parents enter into the problem.
They like to use words like rebellion and millennials and attitudes and authority and puberty and respect, completely projecting their lack of self control and empathy and patience and love, onto the kids of America.
This has to stop.
The parents of American cannot keep justifying their cruel and violent and immature and impatient and animal-like behavior on religion, etiquette, parental authority, and respect.
Parents in America, who have deeply wounded and suppressed and abused and planted the first seeds of un-love, un-value, dis-respect, anger, un-fairness, and more, need to grow up themselves and admit and own up to the abuse and neglect and emotional damage they had a part in.
The world we live in was raised in a house somewhere.
There can be no blame without acceptance.
No pointing the finger at youth without parents pointing the gun at their own heads.
…we have fucked this thing up. And we need to fix it.
And it’s not just these easy external categories like video games, internet, NRA, and drugs.
It’s communication, home-life, presence, affections, time spent, cuddling, affirmation, patience, openness, identity and love.
NOT JUST DISCIPLINE.
I promise you, the answer is not harsher discipline.
So lets raise the conversation about how we raise kids.
How we talk to them.
How we build identities.
How we connect.
How we instill dignity.
And it can be done without yelling, threatening, beating, and spanking.
Those who’ve been abused, I know, it’s hard to understand this. But it can be done better, and it should.
The right path is often slower and tougher and more painful for the parent than we’d like to imagine. But all those years of suffering and stretching and making space for your child, will one day pay off.
I wanted to chime in.
I wanted to talk about a reality to this problem that is often overlooked at ignored.
I hope those who connect with and understand what I’m saying feel voiced, understood, and heard.
I hope the parents that read this feel convicted, moved, and possibly able to admit, to yourself first, the way you’ve been a part of this problem. And then I hope you’re able to apologize to your kids and start to mend wounds and soften and be humble and open to what your children need to move forward.
I hope we all can put great energy and attention and care and love into children, and what it means to be a parent, and slowly, hopefully, reverse these trends that have been going on in homes across America.
You could be the best parent and your kid could still end up doing some pretty crazy shit.
Yes, you can be part of the problem.
But, yes, you can be part of of the solution too.
So let’s not blame society. But, like doctors, let’s start at the source and lovingly, describe the problem: the society of the home. The place where babies are born and nurtured and grown and welcomed into society and this planet—the place where they figure out for the first time what this globe is all about—where they develop their thoughts and feelings about God, people and ultimately…themselves. Let’s put our attention on the true place of change, not video games and violent movies and guns and drugs, but the home. Those things are perfectly fine with sound and healthy and whole people.
As long as we keep blaming the affect, we’ll never move forward. The true source is the individual, but that individuals source was their parents. So, with love, let’s put our attention on what really matters—the painful, terribly, hard to accept truth—that it all begins in the home; with a father, a mother, and a baby.