Alienated Youth

I think enough time has passed that I feel better about writing about what happened in Conneticut.  The conversation has already started, and that is what I actually want to write about.  My right wing relatives are filling up Facebook with anti-gun control memes.  I saw those before I even found out what happened.  I am afraid that the gun control debate will dominate the discussion.  While it should be a part of the conversation there is a lot more that we need to talk about.

I was watching the one of those Sunday round table shows and it came up that the shooter played violent video games.  They also said that people who make violent movies should be treated the same as pornographers.  So it seems we are already blaming guns, video games, and movies.  There was some good talk about mental illness as well, and that is something that we should look at.

Everyone seems to be trying to figure out how to stop someone from going into a school and going on a killing spree.  Why don’t we try and figure out why people would do that and see that we don’t create these kinds of killers.

I don’t know much about this particular killer, or any of these school shooters.  I will be speaking out of generalities and not specifics.  That being said most of these guys are young males who feel alienated.  One thing that I want to point out right away is that this is nothing new.  Young alienated men have been violent throughout all of history.  Billy the Kid supposedly shot his first man when he was fifteen.  In fact he is a good example of what is going on.  In his own life killers where being glorified.  Western gunfighters where becoming celebrities.  That drew young men like Billy to that kind of lifestyle.  Today we may not celebrate school shootings, but we sure give them attention, and to a kid who is starving for attention it doesn’t matter if it is good or bad.  So part of it is our attitude.  The bigger the reaction we make the more appealing it is to the next kid.

I remember when I was a teenager, I was constantly made fun of.  I was shy, and not the most fashionable guy around.  I also took it very personally.  I let it get to me and they knew it, so that made it more fun for them.  I had no friends and soon hated all of them.  School was torture.  I was without a doubt a very troubled young man.  I was one of those alienated teenagers.  While I would never have shot any of them, I wouldn’t have mourned them.

So it seems to me that rather than spending energy trying to keep guns out the hands of these kids, maybe we should try and stop the alienation.  It was no secrete what was happening to me, but no one tried to stop it.  We need to help these kids.  Don’t just leave it up to the schools.  Parents need to be more active in their kids lives, of course, but we all need to be more active in kids lives.  It takes a village to raise a child.  We need to be more active in stopping bullying.  We need more help for parents if their kids are showing signs of mental illness.  No not every lonely kid is going to go into a building and shoot people, but they still need help.

I know it is easier to pass laws than to be more responsible.  I know it’s easier to blame movies and video games.  It’s always easier to react than to be proactive.

The fact is we have a violent culture and as long as we do we will have violence.  Movies and video games are art, and art is a reflection of culture.  When we no longer find violence appealing then artist will stop making violent movies and games.  The change must go deeper than that.  All of us as a people need to change.  Individually we need to build our lives on the teachings of Jesus.  We need to root ourselves in God.  We need to help our children to do the same.  We need to be active in their lives.

I know this all sounds nice, but it’s impractical.  What do you think?  What should we do, if anything at all?

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