Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Making Sense of Violence

I am bewildered and saddened when I hear news reports about horrific acts of violence, particularly when the perpetrators know their victims. I always wonder what possesses someone to attack and even kill another human being, no matter how angry he or she might be. When I heard about the latest workplace shooting that killed nine and wounded two people in Connecticut, I thought about my life. Sure, I have known quite a few people that were cruel and mean to me, but none of them made so angry that I wanted to physically hurt them, or end their lives. I just never want to see them again, and this world is big enough so that can happen.

Journalists are already reporting about the possible motives behind the crime, which include racial bias, harassment, and being fired, with the latter being the catalyst for the tragic murder/suicide. There are obviously many more reasons that are far too complex for the media to cover, but it is obvious that the man felt so desperate to make his point that he used violence towards himself and the people he worked with. Was it the prospect of being unemployed in this economy, the rage of being harassed because of race, the fragility of his self-esteem as a human being, or all of the above that caused him to snap? Most of us can agree that the severity of violence was not justified. Even if some or all of the people who were killed and injured by the gunman were/are racist jerks, they did not deserve what they got. My seventh grade teacher was one the most disagreeable bigots I have ever met in my life, but ending her life in a blaze of gunfire? No way!

We cannot operate under the assumption that something like this will never happen to us or anyone we know. I believe that being more civil to one another, following our instincts, and taking action when needed are all important preventative measures, especially in schools and work environments.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

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