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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Wonder

In light of recent events I've wondered what it would be like to grow up in the America that my Grandma or even my Mother grew up in.

I was born in 1992 and the first mass murder I remember happening was 9/11 in 2001. My world has never been quite the same since then. I can't remember the last time I went to the airport without getting a pat down. And when it comes to extremely large crowds sometimes I wonder if I'm in an area that's about to get bombed or shot up. Morbid, I know. Although 9/11 is the first one I can recall, the really sad part is all this stuff started happening when I was 3 years old, with the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

One day there's going to be metal detectors in every school, heightened security at every movie theater, thousands of police officers at every event simply because everyone is scared for their safety. If I have kids they will never know how it feels to leave the house and not have to worry if something bad is going to happen to them. When I hear my elders reminisce about their younger days I envy their youth because that security they felt is something I haven't known for years. The innocent years that every child deserves are being shorten because certain people are going off their rockers and trying to kill hundreds at once.

That type of murder is not normal. I don't know if it's a nature versus nurture thing that's making people lose it. Nature being the fact that our air is more polluted than our ancestors' air and there's harmful chemicals in a lot of food now. Nurture being that sometimes really messed up people decide to spawn when they don't want to care for anyone. Or if it's because the media makes every person who goes on one of these killing rampages instantly famous. But what I do know is this country is suffering from a mental health crisis and maybe the government should be looking at more than just gun control. I'm not going to ramble on about guns (that'd take up a whole different post) but I will say that guns should be harder for the wrong people to get hold of and nobody should have guns that were designed with wars in mind. This is America though, so if the government were to try to take away everyone's guns it probably would not go over well. That being said, bombs have started their fair share of the tragedies in this country.

I honestly think the main issue here is mental health. I have many family members that deal with with varying mental health issues and I can fully appreciate how hard it is to talk about. As a country we shame, mock, and make light of these problems that people live with, when we really need to make people feel like help is more accessible and less taboo. I'm not excusing the horrible crimes of the people who blow up and kill countless other people (let's face it, some people are just pure evil and will hurt others no matter what) but I can't help but wonder: would all these tragedies still have occurred if the person(s) committing them had gotten help before they reached their boiling points?

America has become extremely focused on I and Me. Maybe it should become more focused on We and Us. Maybe when we ask someone how they are doing we should actually mean it. Maybe when we know that one person who seems disturbed we won't avoid them but try to get them help. Maybe over time we can start reducing how often these mass homicides take place.