Dictionary.com defines History as; 1. the aggregate of past events. 2. the record of past events and times, especially in connection with the human race.
This week we (the citizens of the U.S.) got our world turned upside down, the people of Connecticut got their world shattered! The tragic events have effected pretty much everyone, regardless of where they live. Unfortunately, a quick scan of Yahoo News shows a shooting in California and some guy being arrested with 45 guns (I only read the bold print on that story) which means we are not done with gun related violence it looks like.
Now, I believe we need to start a national conversation about violence, gun control, and definitely mental health issues and access to help! My guess is that some stupid college bowl game will distract us from having a conversation though. Since I’m on my soap box right now, this weeks post is dedicated to trying to start a national conversation before we get distracted and move on.
To begin with, I think we need to re-exam the definition of history. Dictionary.com defines History as the aggregate of past events. What it doesn’t say is where these “aggregate of past events” have to come from. To often, I think, we think of history as being something we study at school or in college instead of looking at the history of the human race as individuals.
So right now you might be asking why would I be thinking about the definition of history and how it relates to the shootings in Connecticut. Hopefully, I will be able to answer that question right now.
We don’t know yet what caused the gunman to go to the school and destroy so many lives. What we do know is more than likely we will be able to find multiple times leading up to the incident where history could have been changed for the gunman and more importantly those children.
Based on past mass shootings, it seems each gunman had an insane collection of high powered rifles, automatic weapons, and a butt load of ammo for their legally bought weapons. These guns are usually the kind that only have one purpose, to kill other humans. A lot of these guns are usually slightly modified from the ones our military or police use. Now, I don’t know much about guns but what I do know is that you don’t need an AK-47 to go hunt Bambi.
So my first question is, why can’t someone (a parent, friend, government) ask why someone needs these types of guns. Is it really a violation of someones rights to ask why. My guess is that if the Connecticut shooters guns had been registered somewhere an alarm would have been sounded. If a cop, friend, parent, or even a stranger would have asked the shooter why he wanted these types of weapons they would have been alerted to a potential problem and all those children would still be alive, to put it another way the course of human history for those killed would have been changed for the better.
Now, I think the genius of our constitution is that the founding fathers realized that things change and there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t think anyone of the founding fathers would be upset or offended if we modified the 2nd amendment to reflect the awesome power of guns today. We won the west, our police officers are well trained, and more guns means more deaths, not less. Our founding fathers, I believe, would be embarrassed to know that we lead the world in gun related deaths.
The next question is violence which is difficult. Does seeing violence on our tv’s, movies, and video games breed more violence? I don’t think so, but I’m basing that on my own personal experience.
Growing up, I watched all the Rambo’s, Star Wars, and Miami Vice shows I could get my hands on. The more violent the better. I am old enough though that my video games weren’t that violent, mainly because video games were still in the infant stage of development. Now I have no idea why I’m not more interested in guns and violence, lets face it Don Johnson made shooting people look good! All I know is my history won’t have guns in it.
The mental health issue is difficult too. History has shown that any question of health care becomes political VERY, VERY quickly. My personal opinion is that government should provide health care to everyone. A poor person working for $9 an hour at Starbucks has just as much right to quality care as Bill Gates or other billionaires do. By providing quality health care to everyone, regardless of cost or income, might have aloud the shooter to seek help instead of guns.
I don’t want to get into the health care debate right now though. The other side is wrong and no ones come close to changing my mind. With that said, I do think there are things we can do to help others with their health outside of the political debate.
First, lets quit looking down on mental health issues. We need to put them front and center. People should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek out mental health help. I do know now that if I would have sought some kind of mental health help after my rock climbing accident I would have handled the stress of that experience a lot better. Much like when we break our arms or get sick, our brains can break or get sick too. Lets work harder at realizing that so the next time a potential shooter crosses our path we can realize it sooner than later and once again change the course of history for the better.
I do have a challenge for everyone that reads this that if completed will change history for the better I hope. As Christmas and New Years gets closer, our daily stress levels will more than likely rise. Shopping, family, work can cause us to become robots in order to get everything done. My challenge to everyone is to break out of that robot mode and look for ways to help others.
As we shop, work, deal with family, lets look for someone that is frowning or having a bad day. This could be the barista that has just completed their 30th drink in the last 45 minutes or a stranger riding an elevator with a frown. It could be a college student with 3 finals or a high school kid that just doesn’t fit in with the cool kids. Lets ask them how they are doing? Engage them in simple conversation. Give the barista an extra big tip! Offer to buy the college kid a drink. Pay extra special attention to their reaction, chances are all these people need is simple human contact.
The hard part of my challenge is when you have a moment I want you to write about the experience. Describe how you discovered this person, what you did to engage that individual, and the reaction you got. Write about if it was a positive encounter or negative then try to look at why it was positive or negative. Once you have done this I want you to post it on facebook, myspace, google, work. shopping center, etc. Or send it to me and I will publish it on my blog (my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org).
One of the things I’ve learned by writing this blog is that its hard to write about personal situations. My hope is to provide people with chronic pain an opportunity to relax and hopefully smile for a moment. This is my way of changing history for me at the very least and hopefully others. I think and believe that by publishing your encounter in will change your history and hopefully someone else’s for the better. TO PUT IT ANOTHER WAY, YOU HAVE JUST CHANGED WORLD HISTORY! 🙂