Anyone in the "baby boomer" generation will probably be able to relate to this more than others. If you were born in the 40's, 50's or early 60's, you will know what I'm talking about. We grew up in the "beatnik" generation, which morphed into the hippie generation. It was a generation of "peace and love". We were laid back, tuned in and turned on. A time of daisies, free love and flowers in your hair. A time when radical behavior consisted of burning bras and draft cards. We flashed peace signs rather than gang signs and we were known to "keep on truckin'".
Our parents typically were not of that same generation. Those of us who were still in our pre or early teen years were still held accountable by our parents when we screwed up. We were punished...not abused. We got our butts whooped when we did something wrong. We had our allowance taken away, if you were fortunate enough to be in a situation where you even got an allowance. We were sent to our rooms without supper or couldn't play outside when we got home from school. We lived vicariously through our Rock and Roll music. Those in their late teens and twenties really got to experience this time when things were "mod" and "groovy". They had children. They named them things like "Star", "Sunflower" or "Moonbeam". Their children were raised with the same "peace and love" attitude and discipline was relaxed and the children were taught to "express yourself". As time went on, their children had their own children and so on. Each generation was a little more relaxed than the previous generation. Discipline was replaced by "time outs" and parenting gave way to being a "friend". Accountability was replaced by excuses.
If you believe that the people responsible for these mass murders are broken, then you have to admit that we as a society are the ones who broke them. We have busied ourselves with making excuses for their behaviors. We have made labels to identify them. If our child sits in school and stares out the window, he's no longer daydreaming, thinking about being outside and playing, he's now diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and, if he's also restless, we'll add a few more letters to the mix and include Hyperactivity in the diagnosis. Fear not. This can be fixed. We'll just prescribe him enough medication to correct the situation, whether a situation truly exists or not. Ah, what a great excuse for the parent. When their kid does something wrong, they're the first to tell you of the child's "illnesses" and give you the laundry list of medications. I'm reminded of a woman I worked with several years ago. When her son acted up in class, his behavior would result in a phone call to "Mom". "Mom" would then relate what happened to anyone in the office who would listen, and quickly make the declaration that he has been diagnosed with ADHD and that his behavior is excusable. She would also add that he is on prescription medications "to calm him down". I refer to this as "Parenting through Pharmacology". Because of this, she felt that he can't be held accountable for his actions and therefore was not disciplined because "it wasn't his fault". I'm certainly not suggesting that this teenage boy will grow up to be a mass murderer, and I'm not suggesting that there are not mental illnesses that effect behaviors. What I am suggesting is that maybe we have been too busy making excuses and being a friend to our children rather than a parent. I am a firm believer in accountability and discipline when it is warranted. I'm not a fan of "time out". If I am a child and I know that if I screw up I'll have to stand in the corner for 15 minutes, I am not in fear of my parents and a little fear goes a long way. I remember all too well of being a child and having to "go outside and get a switch" and bring it back inside to my mother and then doing the "switch dance", running in circles trying to stay a bit faster than that switch cutting through the air. I knew what I could get away with and what I couldn't. When I overstepped those bounds, I knew I was going to be disciplined and held accountable. I wasn't abused. I was loved and my parents wanted me to succeed and they knew that if I was going to be successful, I would have to know the difference between right and wrong and they wanted to instill in me that I would be held accountable for my actions.
Society is broken and we broke it. There will always be crime and there will always be murder, that's something that won't ever stop. If you are still trying to make sense of this situation, STOP . You're wasting your time because it doesn't make sense. But fear not, within the next few days or possibly even hours, you will hear plenty of reasons and excuses to blame for the shooter's behavior. My thoughts are with the parents and the survivors in this tragic time of loss, as well as the family members of the killer who have to suffer their undue shame caused by this cowards actions.