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The Warning Signs
No matter what the total deaths finally total (as of today it is 58) in Las Vegas, there was one more. I understand that the shooter’s own death is usually not counted among the fallen, because it is viewed a further painful insult to the innocent victims. I don’t want to add to anyone’s pain.
As of today, they still don’t know “why.” At least that’s what I hear on the radio. I was thinking that I can’t really ever remember hearing a completely satisfying reason “why” after Sandy Hook, Orlando or even all these years after the Columbine High School shooting.
I can’t imagine a reason that would make it all make perfect sense. “Of course, mental illness…,” or “…too many guns,” or “…his father was an abusive criminal.” I can’t imagine any simple explanation that would make sense of the biggest mass shooting in history.
Maybe it is important that we account for the shooter’s death among the victims if for no other reason than to realize he was in such a dark place that human life had no value, even his own. I don’t think it is helpful to label that “mental illness,” “depression” or even “hate.” Labels usually just serve to help us keep something at arms length. Labels do far more to explain our dismissiveness than inspire compassion. The reality is for all of our talk about gun control, suicides are 2/3 of the gun deaths in the U.S. each year. Middle-aged white men are far and away the most frequent victims of death by their own hands.
Someone in the church told me about, “National Say Something Week is organized by Sandy Hook Promise (http://www.sandyhookpromise.org) and will take place October 16 – 20, 2017.
“Say Something is a no-cost and easy to implement program that teaches students, grades 6 -12, how to look for warning signs, signals and threats, especially in social media, from individuals who may want to hurt themselves or others and to Say Something to a trusted adult to get them help.”
Sounds like a good idea, not just for kids, but also for all of us. And not just to say something when we are hurting or concerned about someone else, but to be sure to tell someone who needs it most that they are loved and valued. Why wait until next week?
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