Simple words but they require commitment and guts. Do something about what you ask? Well…just about anything and maybe this world would be a sane and safer place. I supposed a caveat needs to go along with these words, the addition of “with common sense and the greater good in mind”. Sometimes I think we are so focused on what “we” personally are doing, what “we” will gain or lose, or how “we” will be affected by action, that “we” just don’t do anything in order to play it safe. You can probably guess what has motivated this blog, the events of Tucson, Arizona this past weekend. As more information comes out about the man involved and the specifics of the shooting, for me the question keeps coming up….”why didn’t somebody do something?”
So far we know he was disruptive in his community college classes and banned from the school pending a mental exam. Difficult to enforce when someone is over 18 and a legal adult. Seems his fellow students sent quite a few messages to friends about scary and erratic behavior. Texting a friend your fears is one thing, taking those concerns to someone who may have some authority is quite another.
A shrine in the backyard with a human skull sitting in a planter….not ordinary fare for garden décor so one would think that mom or dad with whom he lives, might suspect something is amiss?
I don’t know the gun laws in the state of Arizona, but to be able to walk in and walk out with a new Glock seems a bit too easy. We have paperwork up the wazoo for any number of purchasing privileges and even to just drive a car (proof of insurance), to pass through and airport and to enter a federal building, but “here, let me wrap that gun for ya buddy…have an nice day!” Personally, I think a salesperson should be able to delay a sale based on “gut instincts” and common sense. Hmmm…dropped out of high school, failed the army entrance exam and kicked out of college…sure, give that boy a weapon.[Google their gun laws and one will find they are the loosest in the US and also recently passed a conceal/carry with no permit law.]
Blaming inflamed rhetoric seems like an easy way out especially when my husband points out that the assassins of Wm McKinley and Abe Lincoln were not listening to the radio or watching TV. Some people are just mentally unstable. If one has ever seen the political cartoons of the early 1900’s, pictures can be inflammatory too, so are we going to try and curtail artistic expression next? How about actions? Didn’t some Chicago mayoral candidate send a dead fish to somebody else, just to send a message? Okay, maybe FTD was out of flowers that day. [Google this incident and you will find some other interesting and inflammatory rhetoric so we should not point fingers at either side of the aisle.]
So my point is this, be aware of those around you, not only their words, but their actions. Something not “feel” right, then speak up not just to friends, but to someone with a bit of authority who can make an official report. That paper trail could prove useful someday. Several witnesses to the event this past weekend made mention of this person’s odd behavior as he worked his way towards the front of the crowd. I can’t say I would have had the guts to point it out to anyone besides a companion however. I am just as brainwashed into the “don’t get involved”, “be careful who you confront”, “someone else will notice and speak up”, “it is not your concern” mentality.
On a similar note, the young man who shot his school administrators and then himself last week left a trail of suspicious behavior and warning signs, but no one spoke up as in speaking up the chain of command with their concerns. Raising teens is hard work no doubt, but so far, no reports of a skull shrine in the backyard.
On a related note, sometimes people do attempt to do the right thing and get no support. For example the couple who own the property where a car overturned in their pond and one boy died. They had tried to get a guardrail installed numerous times and kept getting rejected. However, a few well positioned trees could have helped too but that is just speculation on my part.
Of all the victims, my heart goes out to the 9 year old girl. Today I learned she was born on Sept. 11, 2001. Was she sent to this earth on that day in the midst of tragedy to be the catalyst for change? As I have stated before, nothing happens out of pure circumstance as far as I am concerned. We may not want to see the chain of events or have any faith in the order of the message being delivered, but we have to be open to the possibilities. As citizens, we need to open our eyes, open our ears, listen to our inner voices and then not be afraid to speak up. That little girl ran for her Student Council in order to be a part of something….hell, if she can do it, so can I.