DISCUSS: Heartbroken Over Newtown + How Will Our Society Address The Issue & Avoid Future Mass Shootings?

Photo via CNN.COM

I am so angry, hurt, disturbed, confused…but most of all heartbroken. The events that took place on Friday should never have happened…ever. The fact that it did…the fact that 27 people are dead, including 20 children…mere babies…just boils my blood and has me crying on the daily.

The worst part of all this, is that I (like so many of you) feel helpless.

By now, we all know the story. Adam Lanza, 20, broke into Sandy Hook Elementary School shortly after 9:30 am. He was equipped with a semiautomatic Bushmaster .223 rifle, high-capacity clips, and two handguns that were registered to Nancy Lanza (Adam’s Mother, whom he shot in the face and killed right before). Lanza went on a killing spree, shooting children (6 and 7 year olds) and teachers with numerous bullets. He killed a total of 27 people. When the police came, he turned the gun on himself.

What we don’t know is why? Why?!

Adam Lanza is said to have been incredibly smart, even genius. Sources say that he suffered from either Asperger’s Syndrome (a form of Autism) or a rare condition that caused him not to feel pain (or both). Although neither of these conditions cause any one person to be more violent than another, there was something else happening with this young man. People who knew him described him as “deeply disturbed”. His mother feared she was “losing him” and rarely talked about her troubled son to friends.

So many questions arise regarding Mental Health, Gun Laws & Public Safety.

We as a society need a way that we can detect this disconnect in human beings. A test or a diagnosis. Of course it couldn’t be something that says “hey your baby will be a killer so keep him imprisoned”, but it could be something like “hey, this kid has some issues and you should probably keep him under watch”.

Many people who suffer from mental, social or emotional disorders are not violent and live life without ever committing crimes – but, there are definitely other deranged people out there like Adam Lanza or James Holmes (The “Batman Killer”) who show visible signs of not being all there that we need to begin to understand. When things like this happen, surrounding people always say in hindsight “I knew there was something wrong with them”. That “something” is what we need to be aware of beforehand…

This time, we’re facing one of the most gruesome events to happen in America. I’m angry that one unfortunate and sick individual took away so many good people, young children who had their whole bright futures ahead of them. Not only is this painful for the families, it’s hurt an entire nation and it’s impacting the entire world.

I know eventually we will get more details, but the little we know now is confusing. While I am sorry for the loss of Nancy Lanza and feel terrible that her life was taken by her youngest son,  I am confused as to why she was such a “gun enthusiast”. Why she owned guns and not only guns but military style guns that she trained her “deeply disturbed” son to use. That sounds insane to me, no matter how anyone has explained it. TheDailyBeast had something to say about this also…

Why is it that weapons fit for a war are available for purchase by anyone who can fill out a questionnaire? Why is it a simple process to buy a gun? Where are the background checks, especially for people with family members who have syndromes that demonstrate limited empathy for their peers? No – that doesn’t automatically make them killers or crazy, but that could effect their actions if they stumbled upon a weapon.

We need to know the signs and we need to know how to prevent this from ever happening again. I know its impossible to avoid all crimes, but mass shootings like these are happening all too frequently (See List Here). There must be some connection, some way to identify it before it gets to this point.

Blogger, Liza Long, wrote a compelling article titled “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” which discusses her life as the mother of a 13 year old son who at times has violent outbursts. She brings up the topic of mental illness in this country, how we lack the proper care and questions how we approach it.

“No one wants to send a 13-year-old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken health-care system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast-food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”

I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nationwide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.”

She brings up important points. Even if we found a system to pinpoint those most at risk for committing these unspeakable crimes, how do we prevent them? How do we treat them? Imprisonment doesn’t solve the problem…it could only stall, if not fuel or worsen the problem. We as a society need to find a healthy solution.

What do you guys think?

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