In the Aftermath, The Question in My Mind

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook School shooting I have only one question. That question is not “Why did he do this?”, because the actual why, the on the ground, in his mind why, while it matters, is not the real problem with a crime of this scale. The answer to that question has to do with our failing and stigma-drenched mental healthcare system.

“Why is it that when someone goes unstable and wants to kill himself, does he then go out seeking others to take with him?” This was the question I posed to my husband last night. His answer was simple. The attention. And he’s right. Instead of killing himself quietly, he took the road seen all too often on the news. On the news where the faces and names are plastered and unavoidable. Where criminals are made famous.

We need to stop making them famous.

This is easier said that done, because the news sells and we are naturally curious creatures, even morbidly so. And then there’s the part of us that aches for the victims, for their families, for the police who had to be on scene escorting survivors, examining evidence and bodies, and notifying those families. We want to know that they’re ok. We want to see the triumph of the human spirit.

So the real question is, “How do we satisfy our need to connect and empathize without feeding the fire of criminal one-upmanship?”

I don’t know. I wish I did. I’d shout it from the rooftops.

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