As our update for 2016 and 2017 takes place we touch upon two more of so many Mass Shootings. When mass shootings garner the top story in the news they polarize people into reacting with hate and fear. Such was the case with the Orlando Nightclub Mass Shooting by Omar Mateen which left 49 dead and 50 wounded. Was it a hate crime focused on the LBGT Community, was it in vengeance to American Intervention in the Middle East, or was it more of the pointing fingers by linking the motives to the San Bernardino Shooting and to be blamed on ISIS even though both the CIA and FBI found no links. On the other hand, perhaps it’s really connected to the Fort Lauderdale Mass Shooting of January 6th this year call it “Florida Shootings” when Estaban Santiago who was born in New Jersey shot and killed 5 and wounded 8 who according the the Associated Press was receiving psychological treatment in Alaska and was a US Army Vet who served in Iraq. So perhaps there’s actually a Military Connection as Professor Hugh Gusterson, Anthropologist at George Washington University pointed out in his blog post “Understanding Massing Killings” There was 3 US Vets who were behind the gun of a mass shooting in 2016 including Micah Johnson who shot five police officers in Houston. Fingers will point everywhere and at every reason, but you notice that its never pointed at a gun but sadly with Americans love affair with guns, soon the gun may be pointed at you!
At the hands of yet another Mass Shooting in San Bernardino California, where 14 dead and 13 wounded fall prey to what the times call a Gun Loving culture, the New York Times used the front page of the paper for an Editorial.
This is sadly the 6th update to my original post of Mass Shootings 3 things that Must Change and 3 Things You Can Do since my first post in 2012. I surely can’t/won’t cover them all since there has actually been a thousand or more since them, but I do when there’s value-add to the conversation. The Times outing both the US Gun Industry and the American Public for putting up with it is such a time. As this post is already very long, I will not cover their article except to urge your reading of it. NEW YORK TIMES GUN EPIDEMIC EDITORIAL. It will open in a new window, so do read on and come back to it later as I think this conversation will add light to your understanding.
I will simply say, DO NOT let the NRA and media succeed in doing a Spin Doctor in ties to ISLAM that are not the issue, especially when the shooter in question was doing target practice in his backyard for 5 years, and all these guns were “legally purchased”. I will, however, urge you to understand the word “Marginalized” because it is a common thread between the shooter and his heated discussions to defend his faith, many disenfranchised youths in Connecticut, Texas and Columbine and even a US disenfranchised citizen named Timothy Mcvay who thought the Government was out to get the American Citizen. Anytime we accuse, make wrong, show anger and hostility to any human being in this world we are guilty of adding to their being marginalized. As we marginalize people we light a match which will often find its way to modern day gunpowder called a handgun or assault rifle. Then we become the problem. Lastly, with a pending US election and Obama’s previous attempt at changing the US Gun Laws, I would say if you are a US Citizen, and your Senator buckled to the NRA Lobbying on this legislation then vote them out! Leave them in. and you become a part of the problem! Who voted how? The good news is there’re lots of Senators who voted against gun checks. like this one.
Sadly the ultimate tragedy of violence in society be it mass shootings, drunk driving, war, and the Earth’s Destruction largely happens overwhelmingly at the hand of males. Sadly a majority of the victims are women and children. Perhaps it’s time for women to hold men accountable for all the violence in society starting with home games Doom, Grand Theft Auto, Combat, and 1,001 more often linked to the habits of violent people, and Moms of the world, Psychology Today will tell you what these violent video games are doing to the kids. Then there are sports like Ultimate Wrestling who bring us back to the Romans and gladiators with barbaric brutal violence, not to mention the incongruence of being able to smash somebody in the face at a hockey game, but you go to jail if you do it on the street. What do all these mixed messages teach kids?
Males also largely drive the road block on gun control laws and the continuation of the military complex agenda. The US Gun / Weapon culture is our of control. According to the-the Stockholm International Research Institute, currently, the US is the biggest exporter of weapons in the world. More than Russia, China, and France combined or more than the next 10 countries combined. Starting with Lockheed Martin, 5 of the top 6 Weapons Manufacturers are American. There are hundreds of gun manufacturers in the US. The Ruger plant in Prescott Arizona manufactured a whopping 860,000 plus handguns in 2012 and another 250,000+ in Newport New Hampshire. So likely that would be 3 more million made since those stats, and then you can move on to Smith & Wesson with 500,000+ in their Springfield Massachusets Plant, not to mention the other plants they own or the other hundreds of gun manufacturers. There are to paradigms here to look at. One is that America’s love affair with guns is out of control, and the other is the America’s love affair with guns is IN control by large manufacturers and NRA! So far their agenda has reigned supreme! Note women participation and leadership in the preceding facts is almost non-existent.
In Vancouver in 2010, the Dalai Lama asserted that Western Women were going to save the world. I 100% support this notion for the simple reason, men have done a piss poor job so far with very few exceptions of men like Al Gore! It will be for the women to decide how this is to happen, but rest assured many men like me will be in ardent support.
Also, check out get involved and support the movement started by Ingrid Vanderveldt, A Billion Women by 2020 They too believe it will be women that will lead the changes to save the world and me 100% support them. YOU GO WOMEN! :).
It will be a challenge to overcome the billions spent by the NRA and Weapons Companies. This may SHOCK you, but the US is now at an average of 1 a day! List of Mass Shootings for 2015. 256+
“The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.” ~ Martin Luther King
“AT SOME POINT, IT’LL BE IMPORTANT FOR AMERICAN PEOPLE TO COME TO GRIPS WITH IT.” ~ Barrack Obama, in response to the Charleston Church Shooting, June 17, 2015
Obama’s furry and commitment in reaction to Newton to achieve new gun control legislation got blocked by the US Senate.
Change is needed to stop mass shootings. (Blog update September 17, 2013)
In order for things to change, you have to change something. Insanity is thinking things will change when you have not changed anything to get different results.
Not much more to say, except our condolences and prayers to the 12 who were lost in the Washington Naval Yard shooting, their friends and families, and to quote Pete Seeger from his classic “Where Have All The Flowers Gone”, …….. “when will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.”
This post was originally written July 29th, 2012 on the heels of two mass shootings in Canada and the United States. Less than six months later it is MORE relevant and important than it originally was. Why, because society has a duty of care, and while all mass shootings are horrific, the shooting massacre at a youth camp in Norway two years ago, taking 77 lives and the one yesterday, taking another 26, 20 of which were elementary age children means we have absolutely failed to respond. I recently had a conversation with a gun advocate who thought perhaps if people in the theater in the Batman Movie shooting had a gun, they could have stopped the gunman. Logic like that carried to an extreme would say, perhaps if every country on planet Earth had a nuclear bomb we would be closer to world peace. No the guns in yesterday’s shooting were legally bought and sadly used upon the owner herself which in the end didn’t exactly protect her from her own son, but did provide the weapons of mass destruction at Sandy Hook elementary school.
I have two daughters who are both faculties of schools where I live, one public and one high school. I cried when I heard about the young teacher who died shielding her students. It hit so close to home as I know my daughters would have done the same. Sadly she and several of the faculty of this school will not be coming home anymore. All of us share in the deep despair of the twenty small children who died so young. These are the reasons I will repeat this post over and over again until something is done. It is all my responsibility. I pray this time the tide will turn.
I will repeat this idea one more time (stated later in the post previously)…… the evil is not “over there” or some sinister power> The Governor of Connecticut said in his remarks on the shooting, “evil had come and visited the small town of Newton Connecticut,” however the shooter had already lived there for 20 years, and he was a brother, a son and a father to those who lived there, not some mysterious masked assassin who looks like Darth Vader or Batman’s nemesis, he was one of the town’s residents, he was one of us. So where is the evil?
Perhaps in reflection, this may be the most important blog I’ve ever written. It is a bit long for a post, but the topic is important enough. don’t you think?
Here’s the original Post July 22nd, 2012______________________
As the last of the funerals will soon be done, we reflect upon a week where mass shootings happened on both sides of the Canada / US border. While remembering the lives lost too young we continue to search for answers and soon the prevailing question, will anything change to stop the madness? In Toronto at a neighbourhood picnic, 2 innocent bystanders were killed and 19 were wounded and just 4 days later in Aurora Colorado at the now infamous Batman Movie Launch another 58 wounded and 12 more killed. On both sides of the border, a child was killed, Shyanne Charles, only 14 and Veronica Moser just 6 years old. The heart-wrenching pain of these two tragedies have now affected the lives of hundreds more and brought heartfelt sadness to millions.
Each time occurrences like these happen the conversations seem to go around in circles from what can be done, to the same old gun control conversations and the many stares of apathy and helplessness as time sets in to heal the wounds and harden the belief that it’s just a matter of time before another Columbine, Virginia Tech or the 2011 Tucson shooting which included U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. There are so many it becomes easy to forget about mass shootings in Montreal, Jacksonville Florida, San Diego California or Killeen Texas, not to mention other parts of the world.
It is dangerous when people believe that mass shootings are here to stay. If people start believing that this is the norm, and gun control laws and every other idea just won’t work then, they will simply join the world of apathy. Just like your missing keys if you stop looking for them or, in this case, solutions that work you will never find them. I hope I am part of a large group of people who cannot and will not accept that notion. Once you accept that anything is preventable, you now have the task to find a way to stop it as fast as possible.
Nobody for a moment pretends that the end to mass gun violence will be easy. It is a complex issue and will not be resolved with a simplistic solution in today’s world. With all big issues, a holistic Positive response will be needed and to consider the PosiRatio of the ratio of ten positives to offset one negative, it will take extraordinary efforts and resources.
You can easily fill a book on this issue, but suffice to say as a society we just don’t get it! Most of the time we don’t even try. Historically we have had centuries of time starting with the concept of the “Court Jester” to describe anyone who was seen as “abnormal” due to physical or mental issues. This idea as framed our very vocabulary that carries out in today’s world, hundreds of years later. Take a look at the relatively few words we use for “higher levels of intelligence”
Words for SANE!
lucid, normal, well-balanced, sensible,
Now let’s look at our vocabulary for INSANE!
Crazy, airhead, blockhead, irrational, witless, delirious, unhinged, loony, witless, touched, dim, dim wit, a few bricks short of a load, out to lunch, mindless, light-bulb’s on but nobody’s home, certifiable, messed, messed up, screwball, unsound mind, out of one’s mind, mental or mentally retarded, deranged, numb skull, imbecile, idiotic, feeble-minded, unstable, disturbed, bipolar (not in a diagnosis application), mania, maniac, bonkers, crackpot, slow, wacko flaky, imbecile, dolt, simpleton, harebrained, unstable, fruit cake, delusional, brain dead, brainless, mad, mad hatter, lunatic, daft, touched, off one’s rocker, bonkers, off one’s trolley, unhinged, fool, nervous disorder, weird, bonehead, bubblehead, ignoramus, sick-mind, troubled mind, crazy pants, fool, imbecile, numb-scull, I-dot, bananas, batty, cuckoo, doesn’t have a full deck of cards, kooky, unbalanced mind,unsoundness of mind, cuckoo, a 5150, freak, berserk, strange, demented, out of their mind, schizophrenic, or schizo, catatonic, nuts, nut-so nutty, demented, on crack, off the deep end, spastic, retard, psycho, weirdo and of course insane or was that inane, or just a little off, and for sure they’ve got a screw loose, and they’re a little strange, f _ _ _’d up, or just plane stupid! ….
Well, you get the picture… we’re almost obsessed with labeling people with mental health issues and thus fortifying the stigma of people with depression and many other diagnoses. Oh, and none of the 100+ words and terms includes actual medical diagnosis which like the example of bipolar are also often used in sarcasm or ridicule. Let’s also remember that we have 10+ X the negative words but more importantly, they get used 100 X more often!
As we use these labels towards those we make fun of or bully, the class nerd, and those suffering from depression or other vulnerable issues we actually often spark a worse condition. Even strong people have issues with deflecting a label, however, weak and vulnerable people have little or no resistance to these labels and often even latch on to them as a justification for their behaviour that they believe they can’t stop or explain It justifies to them how they feel or why people treat them so cruelly. It now makes more sense so they become more and more the person they’ve been told they are. Every school teacher and parent who’s been educated on self-esteem issues know this is what happens when our world defines us, but somehow as a collective society, we totally lose this lesson.
Instead, we leave them hurt, lonely, more depressed, hopeless, rejected, abandoned and yes, often leave them like a ticking time bomb, perhaps even angry with a feeling of being unjustly treated. According to David Rock author of Your Brain At Work the latter feeling of being unjustly treated, triggers all sorts of brain chemicals and really exacerbates the situation.
The third tenet of the Positive Imperative is that WE must take collective responsibility as our brother’s keeper. We must be a part of the solution and rather than be coming an Ostridge with our head in the sand and learn about mental health. Currently, we treat people with mental health issues like they have leprosy, and run for the door, the exact opposite of what is needed which is to be education and have empathy, compassion, and understanding.
Michael Jackson caught the essence of change with his Classic “Man In The Mirror”. Change starts with the guy staring back at you. We deflect the Man In The Mirror with the “Blame Game”. It’s always somebody’s fault, the other guy’s fault, big businesses fault, the government’s fault, all of the above.. or………NONE OF THE ABOVE!
POST-September 2001. We grow to be afraid of them, ’cause they are a threat to our safety. The new Enemy is Terrorists; the Muslim population, the Guy With The Turban, the Arab, the Communists and anybody else we can point a finger at including, of course, the bleeding heart liberals. While there is of course always some justification for everything when it comes right down to who you really need to be afraid of for your safety, it’s not somebody on the other side of the world as much as it is the guy who lives next door or even in your own home.
In America, there were 12,996 murders in the US. Of those,8,775 were caused by firearms in 2010.
Add to that nearly 30,000 (reported numbers are likely much higher factoring in unreported), deaths by suicide each year. In 2010, depression will be the #1 disability in the world. (World Health Organization) The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression. (www.save.org).
On June 8, 2012, the New York Times reported that the Us Military Active Service Deaths in the last 12 months were 130 and that deaths by suicide outnumbered them and were 154.
Contrast that to 13 US deaths by terrorism in 2010, 3,000 in 2001 by terrorism and a total of 4,977 in 13 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and your two numbers are 8,000 in 12 years to 504,000, just over half a million plus American’s killing each other or themselves.
The guy to fear in the next mass shooting is NOT a prototype of evil like Adolf Hitler, he’s the guy next door you grew up with and just like James Holmes, maybe a one-time soccer player and honors student at the University of California, who may have fallen prey to issues of mental health. A fact that bears repeating….. In 2010, depression will be the #1 disability in the world. (World Health Organization) The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression. (www.save.org). Like the teen who’s being held in the Toronto picnic shooting and participating in gang gun violence, the well-worn profile is that he’s a kid without direction, usually comes from a father absent home and almost all of the time has NO stable role models with the time to spend to help steer them straight. In either scenario or like so much more in the profiles of all the other mass murderers, we can spend days, months or years playing the blame game or we can respond. For each one of us, it comes down to the ultimate Positive Imperative Question and choices. Are WE going to be a part of the solution or a part of the problem?
As humans, we must evolve and accept that we live in a world of Interdependence and as such must take on responsibility for the Wellness of our fellow man and world around us. We can respond, and be a part of our community collective that raises the bar for and makes it a more positive and healthy place to live or we can shrug our shoulders in apathy or worse yet believe there’s nothing we can do in which case you aid the actions of the wrongdoer. In doing so, we may be the person who could have tipped the balances of scales in the life of the mass gunman. We have to live with the fact that we could also be the next casualty or it may be our father, mother, sister brother, niece or nephew.
As for me, I’m not a Pollyanna though I know there will be those who read this and think it’s just that. I would say to those naysayers; I have worked with the challenges of hard to change issues and the real world for decades and have participated in many social issues and organizations from Big Brothers to Local Half Way Houses. Yes, I know we who want to better the world do respond, may risk doing so and despite those attempts, we may be the ones who lose a loved one to the next senseless act of violence. However, for me, the man in the mirror wants to know did I try and can I live with myself because I tried, or do I hang my head in shame because I did nothing. We live in the world that has a thousand ticking time bombs. Those ticking time bombs are people who are already in our lives, our neighbors, our co-workers and yes family members too. The truly scary thing is that one of the ways these people will respond to the world they blame as unfair is to seek fame or retribution and that often fuels the shooting of a John Lennon or the horrific mass shooting in like the one in Oslo Norway. The next ticking time bomb may try and outdo all the others. That’s the culture we propagate. To be bigger, better and to strive to become number 1. Please, please help to defuse the bombs! Don’t crawl under the covers because you’re overwhelmed and don’t know what to do, because here’ are 3 of many things any of us can so and even a smile to a stranger is a smile in the right direction.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing!” ~ Edmund Burke
1. Stop the madness. Reasonable gun control laws must be sought. Society must stand up and not be continually bullied by the NRA or anyone else that propagates the lie, that the right to bear arms translates to a guy who can buy 4,000 rounds of ammo with an AK47? There is a word for that. Insanity. If people put up with it, its bound to continue. The sad reality is it took around $60 of money to buy the bullets that changed almost 100 lives forever. Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. Canadian Gun Control Coalition.
2. Educate yourself on issues of Mental Health and become more supportive to those in your life who face challenges. Until we as a society put mental health as our number one priority, we are going to continue down the road of a less forgiving, less humane, less tolerant and less civil society where we blame humans and use incarceration as the only simple solution for those in conflict with the law who are afflicted with mental health issues. As a society, until we have allocated the priority, resources, and compassion to respond to the number one health issue in the world we will continue to be a victim of ignoring it.
3. Positivity and love, and all that goes with it. Start with the foundations of gratitude, positive communication, positive actions like positive driving along with all the qualities of human kindness, caring, giving, sharing and doing for our neighbors. Participate in making your world a better place. Be a Mentor, Big Brother, Big Sister, volunteer! If you don’t feed the heart and starve negativity and all the words that go with it, just by doing nothing, you indeed fuel the flames of ignorance and hate. Each time we fuel the ticking time bomb with hot flames started simply by any act of negativity such as a thoughtless and mean comment to another person. Indeed, then we become just like the careless camper who recklessly throws his match towards the fire pit in the middle of the dry forest. Sooner or later one of the sparks will surely turn into a full raging forest fire. On the other had we believe that every Positive Action starts a PosiRipple, and just like the wave in the ocean, it has the magnificent ability to reach the other side of the world, touch someone’s heart without ever knowing it, and spark more PosiRipples just like the concept of Pay It Forward.
PIQ Positive Imperative Question? Which spark are you committed to light?
“It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you.”
The son thought about it for a minute and then asked, “Which wolf will win?”
The old man replied simply, “The one you feed.”
There’s a lot to be learned from this tragedy. Out of every adversity, there is positivity. The heroism of several people but, in particular, the two men who shielded their women and paid the ultimate price. Ironically the way it seems that virtually all the victims lived their lives. For me the one who touched me most of all was Jessica Ghawi a fiery redhead who lived life to the fullest. Having two fiery redhead daughters of my own, it really hits home. Jessica’s now infamous blog quotes from her near miss at yet another public shooting at Toronto’s Eaton Centre is a great lesson in gratitude and how one should respond as a survivor of such a tragedy. The best way we can now honor both her and her words is to NOT let mass gun shootings fade from our minds and let complacency set it.
I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. ~ Jessica Ghawi
The choice of positivity is the path you decide to follow. It governs your hope, your actions and above all your mind as it becomes the ultimate resource for infinite solutions.
Positive Imperative/Positive Music Imperative Founder