Another shooting and another round of whys, though they seem to be quieter now. We’re exhausted trying to figure it out. What can we do?
The ACLU sued the government in the 1970s to stop mentally ill and homeless from being institutionalized. The state-run mental hospitals, of which several had questionable practices, soon closed.
We have millions of all types of weapons out there. To the extreme, if we had a Gestapo force retrieve all the guns from all the homes in the country, would that solve this?
The entertainment industry has filled our airways, screens, and games with horrific, graphic violence while we just sit by.
The feelings of anxiety and powerlessness across the society produces outbursts of violence from those who are unstable, mentally ill and/or angry.
I’ve thought and written about this a few times since Sandy Hook, always coming to the conclusion that we have to look at ourselves. It is our society that is triggering these individuals.
I’ve come up with an acronym to give us a plan that we all can institute. REACH
Respond. Instead of waiting for our politicians, our police and law makers to do something, we need to have a response. We need to dig deep into the histories of these troubled individuals and their families to see what the source of the action was. We need to respond when individuals show signs of instability, high levels of anger, withdrawal or a sudden change in behavior.
Engage. Listen to these troubled souls. Get a feel for where they are coming from if you are working with someone or they are in your circle of acquaintances that is showing signs of distress. Engage with them, talk to them, offer kindness and friendship.
Action. Get involved in your local community’s plans for preventing such tragic occurrences. Study up on signs of mental health problems, arrange study groups with your friends and co-workers to problem solve for your community’s safety. If you are in the wellness profession go out and teach. Teach teenagers to meditate.
Lobby for sensible gun laws. Do something.
Communicate. Go to your city meetings, write letters, communicate ideas to your representatives locally and nationally. Get the entertainment industry to take this seriously, and create safer, more wholesome games and stories for our impressionable youth. Brain storm and come up with out of the box solutions that no one has thought of yet.
Help. Find out how to help our law enforcement, civil servants, teachers, health care providers, counselors, school boards, service clubs, etc. If you are a business owner, how can your business help?
If just 1% of us focuses on solving this, we would have an army of over 3 million helpers working to increase the wellbeing of our population.