Society is to blame for violence By Joseph Provenzano

On Friday, December 14th a man walked into a public school and shot up the place, killing 26 people including 20 children.  That same day a man stabbed nearly three dozen children in China.  Both are tragedies and horrible examples of humanity gone wrong in today’s world wide society.

Here in the United States people have divided into the two camps that spring up when something like this happens.  One side advocates taking guns away while the other stands firm on the need to possess said weapons.  Neither side addresses the real issue at hand.  We need to focus on what makes people commit these acts.

Let’s face the hard truth of the matter at hand.  People who do these things will use whatever is at hand to commit these violent acts.  We need to figure out what makes them reach this point and how we can prevent them from getting there.  It doesn’t matter what they used, to justify one way or the other after the fact upon the availability of the method of destruction is frivolous and knee jerking.

Case in point is how people are using the difference between these two acts to justify what happened Friday to tighten gun control.  They are saying that due to China’s tough laws and the attacker only having a knife available he did minimal damage compared to the travesty in Connecticut.  That is a fallacy in thinking in the only real difference between the attacks was the person who did it, and not what was used.

I say this because it is sheer luck in China that no one died.  Luck because the attacker didn’t find something more effective and luck because he didn’t know how to properly use his weapon of choice to maximize his damage.  It’s a horrible thought, but had he known how to really use a knife there would have been deaths in that attack.

There will be some who justify their stance against guns by saying “sure there would have been deaths, but not as high as with a gun.”  That’s true, but again that’s only because it’s more effective to use guns than knives just as it is more effective to use explosives than guns.  I could point out every argument related to gun control but it’s irrelevant in the end because it only starts a repetitive cycle of blame that doesn’t address the real issues:  How does someone reach that point and how do we stop them from tipping over it so that they decide to take someone else’s life and more often their own.

One could say that it is definitely our society that is to blame for this breakdown in humanity.  We as a society have failed in insuring that the people who commit these acts didn’t get the help they needed before it was too late.  We need to figure out where that breakdown occurs and how to get people back on track, finding less violent ways to resolve their anger and desperation.

If you look back on history you will see our society broke down a long time ago.  We only chose to ignore the signs as whole, but it is becoming more apparent that we can no longer ignore what is happening in our society.  We cannot ignore bullying, we can no longer ignore the need for mental therapy, we can no longer ignore that we as a society and as individuals have responsibilities which stem beyond us.  We can no longer ignore that we are to blame for what happened.

That’s right, we are to blame.  All too often the warning signs are there but we chose to ignore them.  Somewhere along the way these people either gave a sign that they needed help, were treated badly, or ignored by those around them when all it would have took was one person taking the time to acknowledge them.  Acknowledge their need or that something was wrong and needed to be tended to.

This is a social problem that has existed since the dawn of time for humanity.  I’m talking about our fear of stepping outside our boundaries, our comfort zones, and taking the steps to help someone else.

Regardless of what your religious beliefs are, we have to accept that we need to become tolerant and educated in respecting people.  We need to learn how to incorporate our differences into society so that we are a benefit to those around us.  That means understanding that we don’t think the same as other people and that some beliefs are not commonly shared.

But in that regard of differing beliefs we still tend to have common tenants we follow.  They may be worded differently but they are there.  At the heart of every culture is the belief that we should harm none and help others.  Most of us do a good job of doing the first part, but we still need work on the second.

We can achieve that second part by stepping out of our comfort zone and making the effort to help people when we see a need.  One kind act, one offer of help, one going the extra step is the start of making a difference.  Take the time to really think about how you treat people and what you can do to improve it.  If you see someone who needs help beyond your ability don’t say “it’s someone else’s problem,” but instead find a way to help.

The loss of life from the situations that happened that day is horrendous.  However to place blame anywhere else than on our society, and more importantly on the people who committed them, is only an effort to ignore the problem at hand.  Once we truly step outside our comfort zones and start working to fix the root causes then and only then will we see an end to the violence we now see rising up.  So take the time to help and make a difference.

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