Controversial thoughts about the school shooting today

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Controversial thoughts about the school shooting today

Postby The44 » 14 Dec 2012, 22:45

So let me make this clear: what happened today at Sandy Hook Elementary school is absolutely terrible. I don't disagree with that one iota. My heart breaks for the families of those who are now no longer with us.

I am disturbed by the reaction, however. Already, before the dust has even settled, before the first tears have settled, writers have already been blamed.

"Violence in the media is to blame for this," they say. "Violence in our TV shows, movies, and literature the cause of this tragedy."

Wrong.

Such a view is incredibly simplistic. While it's true that visual learning is powerful, Humans are not robots- we are not doomed to repeat whatever we see. If this were so, all we would need to do to help someone is show them a video of the right way to react. Out of the millions and millions who watch and read works and shows with violence, only a couple hundred commit violence in real life. If you're looking for a direct correlation, that's some amazingly bad statistics.

If anything needs to change out of this situation (and it does), its the way we treat mental illness. It's very likely that the perpetrator of this crime was severely mentally ill. If you're looking for a cause, go there. Because of the stigma we put on diseases of the mind, many people don't get treatment. Many of those affected do not get treatment, because they are scared, embarrassed, or perhaps don't recognize their own symptoms.

And mental illness is prevalent. Very prevalent. According to a 2005 study (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/25766.php), more than 1/4 of the U.S adults participating experienced symptoms that qualified for medical disorders. Another report puts the ratio at one-in-five (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012 ... l-illness/), but the point is, that's a lot of people in trouble. Many of those people don't get the help they need. Don't take my word for it. In that same report, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that only 60% of those affected get help. This number is not acceptable.

So, don't go blaming violent media for what happened today. Blame backwards, unhelpful, and prejudicial attitudes towards mental illness for allowing dangerous tendencies and thoughts to run unchecked, until they consume both the person and his or her victims. And let's address the actual problem together.
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Re: Controversial thoughts about the school shooting today

Postby Amanda Elizabeth » 15 Dec 2012, 01:28

I actually haven't heard anyone blame writers...all I've seen is a ton of gun control rhetoric right now.

And I think the last thing people should be doing are preaching -- for or against whatever the argument is about. Twenty six people -- twenty of them innocent children -- are dead. For Christ sakes, at least let a sunrise go by before everyone pulls out their soap boxes.
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Re: Controversial thoughts about the school shooting today

Postby polymath » 15 Dec 2012, 09:41

My heartfelt condolences go out to the community of the Sandy Hook tragedy. If an event of that scope and horror can have a silver lining, even a tiny one, let it be answers to why such tragedies occur so they may be prevented. Not assigning blame, finger pointing, fault finding, not a platform for promoting or demoting any or every social agenda simmering beneath the surface, not for exacting retribution, nor for forwarding anyone's or agency's prominence, but for understanding the meaning of social massacres.

Why do social massacres happen? The question and seeking answers underly every news or talk broadcast, these posts on this thread, and public and private debates, after stripping away personal agendas. Lamentably, deplorably, sadly, the answers are inconvenient truths problematic to confront. Although perpetrators are the immediate cause of these acts, all of society is proximally causal. We all contribute if from no other failing than indifference to the sufferings of emotionally abused and neglected, maladjusted and disturbed family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and chance acquaintances.

The answer is fostering a more civil and compassionate society. Socially conscious writers have our duty to fulfill therein.
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Re: Controversial thoughts about the school shooting today

Postby The44 » 15 Dec 2012, 16:19

Amanda Elizabeth wrote:I actually haven't heard anyone blame writers...all I've seen is a ton of gun control rhetoric right now.

And I think the last thing people should be doing are preaching -- for or against whatever the argument is about. Twenty six people -- twenty of them innocent children -- are dead. For Christ sakes, at least let a sunrise go by before everyone pulls out their soap boxes.


I completely agree. That's part of the reason I'm disturbed by this. Many people are grieving, but others just use it as their personal platform for gun control, blaming the other side, pro-life rhetoric or what have you. That's part of the reason I posted this. I feel sort of guilty even talking about this, but I felt something needed to be said.
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Re: Controversial thoughts about the school shooting today

Postby The44 » 15 Dec 2012, 16:24

polymath wrote:My heartfelt condolences go out to the community of the Sandy Hook tragedy. If an event of that scope and horror can have a silver lining, even a tiny one, let it be answers to why such tragedies occur so they may be prevented. Not assigning blame, finger pointing, fault finding, not a platform for promoting or demoting any or every social agenda simmering beneath the surface, not for exacting retribution, nor for forwarding anyone's or agency's prominence, but for understanding the meaning of social massacres.

Why do social massacres happen? The question and seeking answers underly every news or talk broadcast, these posts on this thread, and public and private debates, after stripping away personal agendas. Lamentably, deplorably, sadly, the answers are inconvenient truths problematic to confront. Although perpetrators are the immediate cause of these acts, all of society is proximally causal. We all contribute if from no other failing than indifference to the sufferings of emotionally abused and neglected, maladjusted and disturbed family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and chance acquaintances.

The answer is fostering a more civil and compassionate society. Socially conscious writers have our duty to fulfill therein.


This is true. Even my mental illness hypothesis fails to cover the scope of the tragedies- it just fits the evidence better.
I would love to see our fragmented nation stand together and address this problem like civilized, mature people. Drop the gun-debate, violence in media debate, and all the other and confront with the guts an courage it will take. Unfortunately, as the coverage already shows, we are not yet capable of this as a society.
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Re: Controversial thoughts about the school shooting today

Postby Mira » 17 Dec 2012, 14:58

polymath wrote: We all contribute if from no other failing than indifference to the sufferings of emotionally abused and neglected, maladjusted and disturbed family members, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and chance acquaintances.

The answer is fostering a more civil and compassionate society. Socially conscious writers have our duty to fulfill therein.


Beautifully said, Polymath.

We can not ignore the sufferings of those around us. We are all connected. And writers have a powerful means to build compassion, understanding and empathy.

My deepest condolensces to those affected by this tragedy.
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Re: Controversial thoughts about the school shooting today

Postby Mark.W.Carson » 18 Dec 2012, 11:14

I'm a father and husband before I am a writer. I'm also unable to shake the thought of losing a child, and the unfathomable loss and sorrow that would bring, but I am glad that while there are debates raging back and forth blaming different aspects of our lives, that so many have chosen to focus on the families of those impacted and how we can try our best as fathers, and brothers, sisters and mothers to be good to people who have been through so much.

This is a national tragedy, no lie, but the loss we face as a nation is nothing compared to what each family must endure.
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