How many of these do we never hear about? In Oklahoma,a shooting was averted because of the very things I've been speaking about for years: community awareness and action.
It’s the rebuilding of a sense of community and responsibility to each other.. a shared sense of decency being passed down to each generation.This is perhaps the most important sentence in the article. I bolded the phrase that has been on my lips and in many of my writings for years.
We are responsible for one another. We need face time together, and time to speak to one another, to share our feelings, our hopes, our fears, our dreams. We need to respond to the things we hear with more than platitudes and lolcats. We need to take action on what we hear.
The government is, in reality, very limited in their ability to protect us if responsible citizens are not engaged in the duty to protect and defend ourselves. And that includes speaking up when we learn that somebody is even considering doing something like this.It doesn't matter if it's your child, your best friend, your co-worker, your student who is making these threats or behaving in a way you suspect might lead to a tragic outcome.
In every mass killing in America, there have been signs about it well beforehand. The people closest to the killer mention they knew something was going on. Some aren't surprised at all that the person went on their tragic rampage.
Community responsibility failed the killers, and by failing the killers, failed the victims.
When I was growing up, neighbors kept an eye on the children - all the children - in the neighborhood. They would tell the parents when they had concerns about their child, and didn't hesitate to praise and chastise the child directly. Now, we have laws that punish the adults who would watch over the children in this way.
We can't talk directly to the children any more, and if we try to talk to the parents, we get yelled at and told their child is a "perfect angel". The children learn they can't rely on adults to help them and keep them safe. They learn they can't confide their fears and feelings in others.
We are each being forced into being untouched and untouchable islands.
That has to stop.
We have to rebuild our communities, take care of one another, take responsibility for one another, rely on one another, and speak up when someone we know is in trouble, or is troubled.
We need to have hearts, individual ones and a national heart that allows us to express our care and concern for others without fear of lawsuits. Those islands need to have bridges.