Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reality Check IV: My Generation II

**This is not a writerly blog. The winners to the One Stressful Sentence Contest will be announced Friday**

In December 2011 I blogged about reality. How I live in the Occupy Wall Street generation, and how we don't know how to make change, but there are some of us who try, anyway.

Recently, I'm sure you've heard of the shooting in Colorado. If you've followed my blog for awhile, you'll also know I become obsessed with shootings and tragedy. This one is affecting me in a different way than the others though, and I'm trying to figure out why.
It's hard to think that the world
can be so beautiful, and yet so
heart breaking

Maybe it's because James Holmes is 24, the same age as me. Maybe it's because usually these tragedies come from people who are older than me. But I think it's something with the age. The newspapers call him a man, like he's an adult. Most say, "A man entered a movie theater...." But to me, he's not. He's the same age as me. Most days I consider myself a kid, still. I'm not grown up. I suck at managing my finances. I'm not responsible enough to have kids. I'm a kid, a child. I learn new things every single day. High school still feels like it was yesterday.

It's taken me a couple of days to write this blog because I'm in such shock because of what has happened. I've seen stories in the echoes of the aftermath. There were brave "men" (also very young) who saved their girlfriends and lost their lives in the process. There were people celebrating their birthdays. There was a six year old girl.

And then there was this one person who lost his mind and killed all of them. I can't even get a handle on the tragedy.

I want to know why. I want to know what went wrong that this person would walk in and start shooting. I want to know what went through his mind (the newspapers tell me that he'd planned this for MONTHS. Months! I can't even plan today let alone tomorrow!) I've taken enough psychology courses in college to know that this isn't right. That something went wrong.

People aren't born thinking, "I'm going to bring a gun and kill as many people as I can." People break. Kids of all ages break. People like me break and try to kill themselves. So, what happened to break James Holmes, or Timothy McVeigh, or Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, and cause them to kill others?

I (try to) appreciate life in all forms
I'm not going to rally and say that Holmes should die, because while I do support the pro-choice movement, I don't like death.

I don't even like eating carrots because I killed the plant it came from to live. If I eat a lobster (I mean, come on, I'm in Maine, and they're super yummy) I say a quiet prayer of thanks that I get to eat the yummy-ness, and apologize to the creature I devour...dripping in butter.

I'm not going to say Holmes should be tortured, and hurt, and shot, and scared, because I don't like being shot at, hurt, tortured, or scared. When Klebold and Harris killed themselves, I was sad. When McVeigh was killed, I cried and prayed. I don't hate any of these people because I don't know them. I am incredibly saddened by the choices they've made, but I do not hate them. (Though, I do hate the driver who killed my best friend in high school, so if you hate these people, I understand.)

Death isn't the answer. More violence isn't the answer.

The answers come from understanding how something like this could happen and preventing it in the future. It's not more strict gun laws (though maybe people should have to take a psychiatric test before obtaining guns?). The answer comes from studying, from research on psychology, from not damaging our children, our friends more.

Okay. That is all.


20 comments:

  1. I too have been really affected by this shooting. maybe it's becasue I want to live in Aurora (although not that side of town, but the nice side) or maybe it's just becasue I can't fathom how someone with so much life ahead of them would just throw it all away and kill those people. I too am looking for answers. I hope we all find peace after this tragedy.

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    1. The one kind of coop thing is that Christian Bale (that's his name, right) went to the hospital to visit the victims. I thought that was very admirable. I also hope we find peace....

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  2. I don't like violence. At all. But it is hard not to hate someone who has hurt so many innocent people. Especially when you've lost your own family members to violence in the past. It's hard not to be hateful. Because at the of the day, no amount of violence or even justice will bring those people back to their loved ones. Very sad. I've been praying for those people non-stop since this happened. I whole-heartedly agree some kind of preventative measures, if we can figure out what those are, would be key. But not gun control. I mean this guy set explosives in his apartment too so if he hadn't had guns, he would have found other ways to hurt people. Restricting law abiding citizens' rights to bear arms won't stop the truly mentally ill or sociopathic from harming others. Where there is a will, there is a way and all that. I think as a nation we need to think a little harder and be a little more creative with prevention. I mean after these types of shootings we always hear from people who say that the shooter was "off" for a long, long time. But even if you think someone is the type of person who will walk into a movie theater and open fire, you can't really do anything about it. No crime has been committed. You just have a bad feeling. It is scary because this keeps happening and we're no closer to preventing these types of tragedies than we ever were!

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    1. Personally, I'd like to see a lot more done with metal health. It terrifies me what people are capable of doing, and it's not normal.

      You're right it is incredibly scary. :(

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  3. *at the END of the day* that's what that was supposed to say!

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  4. Just wish they would take their violence out on themselves instead of others.

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    1. ...I kind of do, too, but even that is a sad scenario. :(

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  5. This is too big of a topic for just a comment, but I think there has been a huge breakdown stemming back to the boomers. The boomers were to self involved to bother to raise their kids, and those kids grew up and over protected theirs. Over protected them to the point that millennials lack of initiative is a problem, especially in the work place. They (and I'm saying this based on studies, not because I'm saying it) expect everything to be done for them and have to be micro-managed to the point that it's more work to keep a millennial working than to just do the work. All of that to say that I think millennials are searching for a way to "be" something. "Be" someone. And they don't know how.
    However, walking into a theater on a killing spree is certainly one way of doing that.

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    1. This may be the scariest thing I've read so far, possibly because I agree with you. (Though, I work to be someone/something in the literary world. It's hard, but I wasn't one of those over-protected. I was one of those abandoned/abused...) You may be on to something.

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    2. You've definitely learned how to make it on your own. Most people of your generation can't say that.

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    3. That is possibly one of the kindest things anyone has ever said (literally brought a tear to my eye). Thank you. A thousand times over.

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    4. You're so welcome.
      I know what the abandoned thing is like, though not, really, the abuse. Not physical, at any rate.
      Anyway, I only say that because I can see you in you someone that is doing what you need to do to keep making it. Sometimes, the struggle gets tiring, but you keep on keeping on.

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  6. A tragedy like this frightens me and saddens me. It's horrible, but I hope he pays with his blood. You have to realize how things change as a mother though. And while not caring if he gets the death penalty probably isn't right. I'm scared for my kids. I'm scared to think of the world they have to grow up in when people do things like this.

    At the same time. It also makes me wonder... HOW? WHY?
    It seems impossible that someone could do something so horrible and it does make you wonder what's going on in their head. It also scares me to think what's going on in their head.

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    1. When I found out my oldest sister was preggers with her first kiddo, my first reaction was, "Why would you want to bring a child up in this world?" But at the same time, those kiddos, your kiddos are going to be the ones to help save it.

      I'm scared for my nieces and nephew. I'm scared for my friends and family. I desperately want the world to change. (Isn't that why we write? To help change the world?)

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  7. The "understanding how this can be prevented" and mental illness stuff is pretty hard to study. Scientists have a good understanding of mental illness but a lot of difficulty when it comes to treating it. We can get participants with depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc. to come participate in studies, but we can't put out fliers that say, "Are you thinking about committing mass murder? Contact such-and-such to help is with our study; compensation will be provided." So what's different about them...neurotransmitter imbalance? Hormonal imbalance? Genetic or protein defect? We'll never know because we can't study that.

    I think the issue is more about looking for warning signs, like Holmes' notebook that was sitting in the U of CO mailroom. The problem (seemingly) with most of these killers is they're loners, and while they may appear normal or whatever out at the bars for an hour (as people say about Holmes), that doesn't mean they spend the other 23 hours of the day ruminating about this stuff by themself. And then, even so, what do we do? "Hey, buddy, you look like a psychotic killer"? Tell the police? Force them to see a psychiatrist? Institutionalize a seemingly normal person? Imagine being in that position. Hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20 with this kind of stuff.

    I feel like we all need a buddy-system in life. Everyone is responsible for themselves and intimately associated with one other person. It would also help if the government would stop cutting research funds...

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    1. As a person who'd been committed to a psychiatric ward of a hospital against her will, I understand how much it sucks to be a "normal" person, and have all of their rights taken away. I almost wasn't able to graduate college because of this.

      That would be cool if you could put out those fliers, and I like how you talked about the loners--I am a bit of a loner, I don't do well in social situations (as I'm sure you've seen :) ). But I have Baxter, who is my soul mate. I don't think people should be alone, I think that does terrible things to their brain chemistry..

      And yes. Government budget cuts, suck. (Thanks for commenting though, I feel all sorts of special this morning! :) )

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    2. I've lived alone for the past year, so for someone who thankfully doesn't have a mental illness, I can confirm that it STILL does crazy things to my head!

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    3. I live alone now, and I'm pretty sure I do have a mental illness (I'm actually pretty sure I'm a borderline personality disorder, but I need money for a head shrink and diagnosis). But yea...being alone does notttt help.

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Please know that if you comment and I don't respond, it's not because I don't love you. It's because I don't have wifi, but I do have a bad memory.

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