There is no doubt that everyone in America has been thinking about the people and especially the children killed in Newtown Connecticut last week. Over the next days, weeks, and months, I’m sure we are going to hear calls for gun control, maybe even making gun ownership by anyone in the public illegal. Unfortunately, I truly do not believe that will solve anything. If there is one thing that mankind has excelled in over the centuries is finding new and unique ways to kill his fell man.
It was only a little over a decade ago the country was rocked by the terrorist attack on America resulting in two planes crashing into the Twin Towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania. The government immediately intervened to add extra inspections of people and luggage going on planes around the country. How successful have these measures been? It is impossible for us average citizens to know, but we do know that no additional planes have been flown into buildings, at least on purpose. Does that mean that the terrorists have given up? Or perhaps they are just planning a different approach? Have our intelligence groups prevented some of these other methods? I would like to think so. However, I still worry that a determined terrorist group may eventually find another way to strike terror into our nation.
The same is true of these people who commit mass-murder. Even if we were to eliminate all guns for private citizens in America (something I think will be difficult considering the number of legitimate hunters), they will just find another method to achieve their goals (and no, I’m not going to list all of the other options here. Use your own imagination or watch TV or the movies.)
So what is the solution? Dr. Oz thinks that we need to focus more on mental health through better screening and testing. I don’t know about you, but screening people for any propensity to commit mass-murder or any other crime is starting to sound a lot like the move Minority Report. Just because someone is depressed, upset, or feels someone wronged them does not mean that they will turn to mass murder as their solution.
Stress. I am sitting here thinking about what factors cause people to do evil things. Honestly, I cannot think of just a single reason. Rather, I suspect there are many factors. One of those factors is stress. No one will argue that stress has not increased over the last century for most people in the developed world if not all countries. There is stress to get more done with less. There is stress as families get smaller and the responsibility to care for sick family members or elderly family members have to be shouldered by fewer and fewer family members. There is stress from all the bad news on TV and the radio. In fact many people report anxiety after watching hour after hour of disasters such as the school attack last week or the terrorists attacks of 9/11.
Greed. Somebody said to find out who committed a crime, you often only have to follow the money. Some people will do almost anything to get more money. They would sell out their best friend, neighbor, or even a family member if they could get money for it. Several months ago there was a story on a Freakanomics podcast where as an experiment, a person offered to buy someone else’s soul for $50. He were not expecting anyone to really agree to such a contract. But one person did. The person who agreed to sell their soul argued that since they did not believe the soul actually existed, that getting $50 in exchange for something that did not exist in the first place just made economic sense. They would have held out for more than $50, but no one else was willing to pay more.
Power. Another common phrase is: ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’. I suppose this statement could be applied to many of the ‘great’ dictators, kings, and other leaders throughout history, although in many cases, I’m not so sure that greed did not also play a part in that obsession with gathering more power since the two seem to often go hand-in-hand.
While these factors may all play a role in much of the evil in this world, there probably is also a component of just psychological imbalance because of some physical brain issue, but I don’t think I would recommend everyone going through some type of psychological test just to try to find those that might be included to violence. After all, where would you draw the line? Extremes are seldom the right answer. Banning all guns from private citizens (they will still find a way to obtain guns). Submitting everyone to psychological testing (sounds like ‘Guilty until proven innocent’). Elimining money to eliminate greed (without money, incentive to excell could also be eliminated). Eliminate all power (without some type of power or government, there could be chaos and no planning for the common needs). Eliminate all stress (without some stress, people might just sit around and do nothing since the stress related to providing for basic neesd is what makes things happen).
Perhaps, the answer is as it has always been a balanced approach. Sometimes mankind swings too far in one direction or the other, but human forces tend to eventually brings things back to center. So I guess for now I’m hoping that we can just get through the rest of this Christmas/Hanukkah/Holiday (you pick the one you want) season without any more incidents. Pray for the families of those who were murdered in Connecticut. Pray also for our soldiers in foreign lands, our fire fighters, police, healthcare professionals and all the other service people that we depend on to keep us safe and well. Finally, I wish you all Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward All Mankind.
C’ya next time.