Kids do lockdown rehearsals in schools now. When I was in school, we did nuclear bomb drills. Both produce PTSD a little bit each time. Our imaginations run wild with scenes of death. This has been going on for years. Oh well, I have to go to a party now…. is that our reaction? Regulating guns, coping with mental health breakdowns, tracking criminal histories — none of that will make any difference until we are free, truly free to share our deepest dark secrets with a close friend, a group of people, and the world, when we can be accepted for who we are just as we are, warts and all, and get it in our hearts that we are OK, we don’t need to defend ourselves because we have no enemies — because anyone who appears to be an enemy is “one of us,” and perhaps in need of a little help. This is not an impossible concept.
In 1997, sixteen American youth per day on average died from firearm homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting. We have known these stats for 15 years and nothing has changed. Who is more insane, the shooter or the rest of us? If we really allowed ourselves to feel fully all the stages of grief, which is not only shock, anger, and sadness, but also envisioning and implementing a better life, then there might be a change in the body politic. Our conditioning to not feel, not trust, and not talk about such things is incredibly powerful.
The culture of violence is a complex spiritual-emotional-mental-political cesspool and cannot be simplified into this dogma or that dogma. About all we have the power and control to do is to eliminate the violence from our own thoughts, words, and deeds. That may not seem like much, and once you start down that path you see how difficult it is. Suddenly it seems almost impossible. Breaking down the walls is gradual work at best. Yet millions — yes, millions — of people have become substantially non-violent. They did it by participating with their brothers and sisters in a common quest. They did it! They have proven that we can all do it, and we can all do it without guns or gun laws. It’s a cultural revolution now in progress that defies all political logic and boundaries, that goes to the root of the problem: self-isolation and the fear of abandonment. Period.