It’s interesting how my views become a little less black and white as I get older. I am sure, in my younger years I would have listened to the rhetoric surrounding the recent elementary school tragedy and thought to myself, “What is the need for discussion. The killer has paid the price with his life. Justice has been served.” Now, I see the need for discussion and change. However, two weeks after the massacre there seems little of either.
I find it interesting, (And by interesting, I mean sad.) that not one group (the NRA, the Government, the media…) or member thereof has had the courage or decency to step up and say, “Sorry. We are partly to blame in this disaster. Let’s see what we can do together to help avert this type of heinous crime from ever happening again.”
I guess I can understand why no one has spoken out. One just needs to take a second to consider the litigious nature of society in order to realize that any voice of responsibility would have been taken as a sign of weakness and would surely have opened the floodgates to countless lawsuits both frivolous and meritorious. And so instead of doing anything about the problem, during the initial days following the carnage, the powers that be just waited.
They waited for people to editorialize, comment and most importantly place blame. Place blame on the government for passing gun laws that have given almost anyone access to firearms; place blame on the healthcare system for failing to provide adequate attention to identifying and dealing with the mentally ill; place blame on the media for giving too much notoriety to the gunman; and place blame on the masses for feeding into the headlines of gore and destruction that the media thrives upon. After a week of this, pressure seemed to have been taken off of the individual groups and they didn’t need to do anything. The continuous discussion and debate had provided groups with enough fuel to not only defend themselves but also place blame on someone or something else.
And now, a little over two weeks later, a number of other newsworthy tragedies have taken the attention of the masses, gun sales in the U.S. have gone up, nothing has been really mentioned about healthcare reform, and sociopathic individuals everywhere (I just read about a person recently arrested in Alberta for threatening to do the same thing.) are contemplating ways to gain the same fifteen minutes of infamy. All the praying, reporting, editorializing and deliberating has managed to: 1) create a nice two page editorial for the Time 2012 In Review; and 2) create a new benchmark for future psychopaths to aspire to beat.
Ok. No. Not really. It kind of sucks!
What we need is for a few people to stand up, take responsibility and do the jobs that they have been hired or elected to do. Represent the people for the people and not for lobby groups and corporations. Report news in order to enlighten and educate. Put money into healthcare reform rather than into perpetuating or creating wars overseas. What we need, most importantly, is for people to stop passing the buck.
To me, it seems as though there is systemic need to look for fault in others whenever there is a problem. I know I have reacted this way on many occasions. Is this human nature, or is it a conditioned response? Do we place blame on others in order to avoid inheriting any kind of responsibility ourselves? Are we trying to justify our own inability or unwillingness to take action and try to better the situation? Or perhaps there is just an inherent fear that if we take on any sort of responsibility, we will suddenly become culpable in future actions.
Whatever the reason, it has become human nature to simply pass the buck and deflect blame. The inherent problem with this automatic reaction is that it seems to remove the necessity of doing something productive about the situation. As soon as people say, “It wasn’t my fault.” they relieve themselves from the need do anything about it. It has suddenly become someone else’s problem. When everyone does the same thing, however, the problem simply gets passed around and is never solved.
We need to stop automatically looking for fault in others when a problem arises and simply focus how we can solve it. I am sure that if we had devoted as much time and attention to trying to resolve the underlying problems that helped to lead to this tragedy as we did trying to find someone to blame, we might have saved ourselves from having to suffer through similar or worse situations in the future.
Calling All Angels, by Train, is a song that I listened to on many nights as we closed up Savannah. The lyrics sang out to me as I began writing this post. In the aftermath of such a horrific tragedy we need to call on something bigger than ourselves to help dig us out of this hole in which we find ourselves wallowing. Humanity needs to somehow grow beyond what we have become. I am not at all a religious man; however I recognize the need for something more. I just hope we can find it before any more angels are lost.
Calling All Angels youtube link