Today, 17 innocent people lost their lives at a high school in Florida and countless more have had their lives changed forever. I first want to say that my heart and thoughts are with everyone near and far who are affected by this event. May you heal quickly and have the capacity to find peace one day. I'm wishing all my very best.
With each headline it just gets harder and I can't even fathom how the survivors will cope with such a trauma as this. The arguments become more and more heated and distressing and they all always seem to revolve around the same topic: gun control. Now, I am not known for my politics therefore I'm not going to put forth my personal opinion about guns simply because my opinion is not relevant to this post. This post is about what would cause someone to willingly want to lash out and attack others? Their method of killing or choice of weapon to kill is as irrelevant as my opinions on gun control. It simply doesn't matter. What matters is the mentality fueling those kinds of actions. What exactly is the fuel being used? Which emotions are being triggered?
The motive for today's tragic event seems rather obvious....revenge. The suspect was recently expelled from the school he attacked, and was said to have been bullied by his classmates. To me, there is no doubt. However, I don't just look at the surface, I dig under to try to understand (not justify) why someone would do such a horrendous act in hopes of defusing tensions that can lead directly to violent action, and of course, I always come back to the same argument I have been throwing out into the world for the last 20+ years.....we HAVE to take care when someones level of mental health appears to be failing. Encourage them and physically support them to seek help or counsel when they do outrageous/abnormal/violent type things.
There are reports that the gunman made threats/comments a year prior to his attack....if this is true of course, it makes me scream out, "WHY WASN'T ANYTHING DONE?!?!" Why didn't anyone take this student seriously? Why wasn't he refereed to a mental health professional? Why was he allowed to go unnoticed until it was too late? My conclusion jump is saying bystander apathy is to blame, but I hope I'm wrong. These are the questions I would love to have answered, but yet, here I am, still waiting.
Guns are not the core problem here. It's just a tool to carry out the act but it's the mentality that creates the thought and carries out the act. Why do we, as a society, continue to ignore this absolute? My guess... because judging is easier than taking the time and effort to think something through. This idealism is literally killing people and it needs to stop. The prejudice against mental health needs to stop, and all of the bullshit arguing back and forth over irrelevant aspects of a particular epidemic....needs to stop!
We MUST take mental health more seriously and further education on how to spot someone who may be having a mental illness or condition. Everyone has a spectrum of mental health as we have a spectrum of physical health, and the two are tightly braided together. Too many in our society don't prioritize mental health and thus we continue to read about countless murders and suicides.
When I began creating this method. I had one simple goal; create a universal, open accessible, coping mechanism. Create a free and simple outlet anyone can use when we are feeling their worst. A way to escape terrifying thoughts that slip into our minds whether we want them to or not. A a way to mentally escape external challenges (ie, a violent environment, bullying, anxiety disorders) during the times when no one and nothing else is with us other than our own bodies and thoughts.
I am going to share a story that proves this kind of behavior is not about guns. When I was in high school, my sophomore year, another student had sneaked into a chemistry lab and turned it into a make shift bomb by turning on all the gases and closing off all the windows. He nearly succeeded if it hadn't been for the quick-thinking teacher and surveillance cameras being monitored. His plan was thwarted and he was arrested. No causalities or injuries even. I never stopped thinking about that student. It fueled my wanting to find out why he did what he did. What makes one person want to kill and others not, even when faced with similar traumatic experiences because it's definitely not luck.
Why do some become hateful and others "go good" when they are faced with intense traumas. What is the deciding factor? The answer is simple, their psychological mentality and the health of their physical brain and perceptions of themselves and their world. The most important part of our entire existence, our brains. If there is a defect in the physical brain, there will be problems in life. Look what happens to those who succumb to CTE? A brain disease that will cause people to attack others, become violent that normally wouldn't be, and even kill others or themselves. So again, why does this fact continue to be ignored by the masses? I know people want someone or something to blame. All right! Blame ignorance because most people end up pointing their fingers in the wrong direction, allowing violent acts to continue.
All in all, I can say without any shadow of a doubt that if people keep finger-pointing and fighting over the wrong things, these headlines will never cease and people will continue to suffer if mental health continues to be ignored.