*Another school shooting. One more young adult plans to become famous by staging a public execution of children. One more time, many hearts in the nation get broken.*
And then, the endless TV coverage and talking heads, seemingly empty of real understanding, are *again* heard discussing the topics of "gun control" and "mental health". What are we to do?
My perspective: I help adults who have experienced trauma in childhood. Their trauma was most often caused by maltreatment by their parents. Others remain traumatized by overwhelming life events which they faced unsuccessfully *alone*, due to the lack of mature psychological support from healthy adult caretakers.
I am writing here to warn you of something that you already know too well - something that we, as a nation, seem incapable of acknowledging publically. Something we refuse or cannot talk about.
Too many parents fail at protecting their children from violence and unbearable pain. Some parents - pained, angry, sad children themselves - commit violent acts on their own children.
If you want to generate human wrath, just put a human being in an intolerably painful situation which they cannot resolve or escape. Do not be surprised if they lash out and kill, even many people, if it will end their powerlessness, isolation, and pain. I believe that this is the motivation in effect when these young adults, emotionally still children,
act to kill children.
It is probably not the message they, in their heart-of-hearts, want to deliver, but it a statement they can make with the resources they have. Suddenly, they've got our attention. Undoubtedly, more real adult attention than have ever received before. Attention that comes too late and at too great a cost.
If we want school shootings to stop, we must address the immaturity, violence, and mental health of *parents* and the quality of the parent-child relationship. Maybe we should require a license for someone to have a child, based on an evaluation of a potential parent's ability and desire to raise a psychologically healthy, functional child.
We must move this discussion to the right topic if we are serious about solving the problem of national violence. The hard part is facing ourselves - our own violent behaviors and the real causes of it. To do this, we must look squarely at human nature and our own shortcomings. Something we are loathe to do. The worse we are - the more violent we are - the less likely it is that we will ever choose to look in the mirror.
The nation will have to come to grips with the intolerable pain being created inside the nation's children pain enough to overpower all rationality, morality, and self control; pain that demands release and resolution, at any cost. Pain, starting with one parent and one child, that then becomes the pain of a nation.
Our schools are a place in which we could, at least potentially, address and assess the mental and emotional health of both children and parents. Privacy advocates, particularly those who have something they want to hide, will scream at this suggestion. However, in schools, we could potentially identify children and parents who show signs of trouble that warrant further exploration and, possibly, help.
Is it worth it to pry into people's "personal" lives? But just how "personal" is it when a young adult, operating from their own hidden world of pain, bursts onto the scene, with the intent to settle the score and end their misery?
We have hard decisions to make to handle such societal problems. They will require great maturity, honesty, and courage. Action on such critical issues will be resisted by those who wish to remain children *morally*, people who will not take responsibility for maturely addressing the immaturity and violence destroying our great nation. All of the difficult collective decisions we face will require a maturity that appears absent, when we watch politicians threaten to "hold their breath" until the nation turns blue.
Please, my fellow Americans, we must now *grow up* to save our children, our nation, and ourselves.