In light of the horrendous tragedy in Kalamazoo Michigan this weekend, my original post has been delayed for another time. I spent many hours Saturday night and early Sunday morning in tears with my heart aching for all those involved in this tragedy. I cried for those who were involved, for the moments that they were in fear before they crossed over, for the anguish they knew as they watched someone they loved being murdered before it was their turn. I cannot imagine much that would be more horrible. I cried for their loved ones who had no idea yet that their lives were to be changed forever at the next ring of the phone or knock on the door. I cried for the witnesses who will never again feel safe, whose dreams will be punctuated by the sounds and sights for the rest of their lives. I cried for the police who put themselves in harms way hoping to stop any more deaths. I cried for those who were transfixed in front of their TV sets watching and praying-knowing that their police officer/ambulance driver loved one was working that shift and hoping desperately that they would not also become a victim. And I cried for the perpetrator’s family and friends who will forever ask themselves if they could have done something to stop it, what did they miss, for the rest of their lives spent in second guesses to no avail. And no matter what words are offered to any of these people, there are no words that can help.
Watching the news while they were learning more and more about what transpired, I was a bit put off by the news people’s behavior. They never returned the station back to programming even though after the first few minutes they had reported everything they knew. Over – and over – and – over – again they repeated the same 10 minutes worth of information, almost verbatim. Even allowing them slack for the shock they were rather obviously experiencing, their constant use of only two descriptive words is, in my opinion, unforgiveable. They have gone to college and have trained for this job, and they should certainly have a larger vocabulary at their disposal with which to describe any scene.
This was such a tragic event, it is/was heartbreaking and horrifying. Continuing to repeat the same ten minutes worth of information over……and over……and over…was senseless, in my opinion, and could only be sensationalizing a horrific tragedy. I changed the channel on the TV from channel 8 (this is not the first time their commentators have greatly disappointed me) to channel 3 to find that the news crew there was doing better at presenting the information with a broader vocabulary and more sensitivity.
What were those two descriptive words that they stuck with and repeated so many times? In this climate of political strife (born of the controversies that come out in almost every election year) where this has become a large question voters are looking at, it struck me how many times they said, “gunman” and “shooter” which seems to me to be inflammatory in that these tragedies always spark vehement arguments over gun laws. The tragedy was still unfolding and they could have used other terms such as suspect, perpetrator, etc. and not focused so heavily on the one word (or two) that would almost certainly spur further issues. Why add insult to injury?
For the record, let me state that I believe we need to enact a multifaceted plan to make our streets safer. There are several factions out in the world and I think misunderstanding creates these arguments that get pretty intense sometimes. As I see it…
…one group wants to get rid of all guns. Period. That should not and is not ever going to happen, and that seems to inflame their feelings and causes them extreme unease.
…one group wants fewer gun control laws than currently exist. That appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to those who want to get rid of guns altogether. But perhaps they are not responding to the first group in which case I have to wonder what is wrong with them that they could think we need less control than is already available.
…and the third group, to which I belong (and if there is another group or groups, forgive my ignorance and please make yourselves known to me), that thinks that more laws are needed as long as they are laws that make sense and aren’t just political attempts at assuaging the public to gain votes. I believe we need to make it at least as hard to buy a gun as it is to get a license to drive a car. Any kid out there who has just completed driver’s training can tell you how much they had to learn, and then, before they can get a license they have to have hours of practice and be able to show a proficiency before they get a license to drive a car.
Before purchasing a gun, you should be able to show some proficiency in handling and caring for it. You should have passed a psychological evaluation that shows you aren’t prone to causing great injury willy-nilly and that you have some reverence for other life forms.
Why do we shy away from helping those who are mentally ill? It’s unforgiveable, really. Right now, I know a person who owns a handgun and who I believe is not mentally healthy. They went through a very traumatic event a few years ago and their personality has changed completely since that time. This person began counseling, but when the counselor began asking about their childhood and home life with their birth family, the person stopped going to counseling. The issues resulting from the trauma were not completely dealt with. I see (or more accurately, “saw”) that this person still needs help, but I have no legal recourse. I advised said person that they should stick with the counseling a little longer, but they didn’t. There is nothing I can do about it except pray that they don’t get worse and go “ballistic” at some point in the future. This isn’t right. I know the family, and they also believe as I do, but again, they are not legally able to do anything to force treatment.
I would never want to see us return to the days when someone could be committed to an asylum with no hope of returning to society. However, several people who concur there is an issue in a person’s life, should be able to get court ordered counseling that would require the person to complete the therapy before they would be cleared to move out of therapy. That in itself would certainly help. I am not a psychologist or counselor so I have no idea if this is truly feasible, but it certainly sounds like a feasible solution to at least one potential problem.
There are smarter folks in the world than I, and I’m certain they can come up with a plan that makes sense to help those who need it. Soooo….this may have turned out to be more of a rant than a blog post, and if that is the case, I apologize. I will get back into blogging more enjoyable things 🙂 Namasté.