It’s kind of interesting that the first thing people talk about in terms of the recent shootings in America is gun control. That’s not my first thought. My first thought reflects what my friend Rachel said ” We need to better our educational system …seriously”.
Sure, we can get better gun laws. I guess. I live in a country that currently is the most violent country in the world. It’s sixty deaths for a 100,000 population. But as violent as it is as far as I know no one has ever gone on a shooting rampage in a movie theater or at a temple, or even a school.
But the main thing is not Why it happened. What we should be asking ourselves is what is in the system that currently makes for these things to happen. We live in a society where moral relativism and ambiguity is the norm and where we watch out for ourselves first before other people.
Sure, most of us won’t become psychopaths. But something in the system is creating it, and all of us hold a responsibility for it. The moment we say ” It’s the movie’s fault” or ” It’s the school’s fault” or ” the parents”….
I really believe that the world as a whole is spiritually sick right now. O.k, you might be saying : Oh Lord, this girl is gonna go on a moral high ground about being ” Saved”… click. Hold your horses. Let’s redefine the word shall we?
What does it mean to be spiritual? It means that we believe that we should acquire virtues such as empathy, and love and generosity. It means caring about others before ourselves. It means having the capacity for sustainable change. It means loving God- and by extension loving humanity.
We need to redefine the paradigms that adhere to religion, to science and to spirituality. Right now the word ” spiritual” has either two immediate reacions:
1) Someone who is spiritual believes in meditation crystals and the third eye and is flighty.
2) Someone who will say you will go to Hell, is judgemental and finds joy in being holier than thou.
In our reluctance not to judge, or to get involved we are teaching kids well…not much really. Our precedence is to teach math, science , english be part of the corporate treadmill and become in debt like everyone else in the country. We don’t teach kids to think anymore for themselves, we rarely try to help kids understand the importance of service and a joy in finding wealth in things other than material means.
I have worked with teens from all backgrounds, and it’s safe to say that a lot of them just need some genuine affection and confidence. A lot of them have grown up with a notion that they are no good, rebellious or can’t think for themselves.
Look, there is another truth to observe in this tragedy. It’s clear that someone, along the way did not pick on the fact that these people are mentally ill. It’s clear that our current psychological model caters to only the people who can tell the signs. We grow up ashamed to admit that we might have a problem. Somewhere along the way, these psychos fall through the cracks in the system.
Controlling guns might deter people for awhile, but it’s not the end result. If we really want significant change we need to care about our neighbor. We need to not turn the other cheek when we see pain and suffering. We need to help each other out .
A parent is not alone in rearing a child. They need everyone to come in and help…whether it is determining the potential dangers in the neighborhood or village, determining the educational system or finding ways to be coherent in our actions.
We are becoming increasingly severed from the world with each new technology that we use, from every way that we focus just on our own families. The world is crumbling down, but as long as I’m happy that’s o.k.
As long as we wash our hands of all the children in the world who need our help, as long as we think it’s just the government or the media or the Other who needs to help we are part of the problem. Did we put a gun in their hands? No.
I don’t know what the solution is, but I do know that if I can help in any way I will. Even a little bit, in my own street and in my own neighborhood. And for every bad apple, there is great goodness and a capacity to love and serve others. This is what we have to hang onto, the capacity in our belief that there is great goodness.