In briefly reviewing the internet and news sources it appears there have been several more mass shootings across the country after the major Aurora, CO shooting in July 2012 and the Aurora shooting has itself attracted more news as to the plea, motive and proceedings. As I pointed out earlier in Part One, this trial will take several months and with the political climate currently it will attract more attention to gun control and in fact, in a recent shooting near the Empire State Building it is alleged that police were responsible for most of the victims rather than the original gunman. This sparks many arguments about whether increased control from the government would protect citizens form mass shootings.
A recent CNN Opinion writer feels that politics cannot control the morality or rationality of mass murder, and I have to agree. Although I have never been a big proponent of guns, war, or hunting I have seen many persons who are responsible with a gun and many persons have protected themselves with weapons of all kinds. Do I feel that weapons or violence is sometimes necessary? Ethically and spiritually, no. Yet, if I felt highly threatened and had access to a weapon I might use it. I also look at myself and others who have used our hands or words as weapons and how that can damage others also. In fact, the word bullying has come up more in our culture. We have decided to categorize bullying behavior as something that needs intervention and there are think-tanks, schools and other organizations rallying to prevent the bullying they are seeing on increase.
Bullying and mass murdering may be closely related, indeed, as well as the relationship between mental illness and violence, early childhood conditions and loneliness and drugs and alcohol and poverty. The list goes on and on. It all becomes related in some way. One may be able to predict this behavior, as I suggested recently in a conversation with a physician, with genetic testing. Can we begin to test those that may become prone to violence, mental illness and the like? It is possible. In fact, there are already probably hundreds, if not thousands, of papers, theses, news articles all suggesting this and testing it in theory. Perhaps some have even gotten close to seeing the genetic links in lab experiments. Yet, does prediction necessarily create prevention?
When we look at the history of the world, for those of us on Earth, we learned in school and in books about the many wars fought for rights to land, countries, leadership, ownership and creation of families, generations, and the future for others. The very foundation of the country was depicted as violent. Perhaps the Biblical times were the most violent. Steven Pinker believes that our world has become less violent which he teaches in his TED talk. Others also believe that our culture is becoming less violent overall. The Human Security Report Project has been researching violence and has resolved that violence is taking a cautious downturn.
Where does the violence start? Some may obscure the facts by their own experience, belief systems, politics or religion. Yet, children are out there murdering and using violence all over the world. Bullying is an example. There has been more attention paid to bullying as an unacceptable behavior where mostly children are concerned, although it can relate to adults as well. Bullying incidents have increased our solidarity and promoted organizations to identify and correct those that are unwilling to follow institutional rules and expectations.
Peace. A year after President Barack Obama was elected he won the Nobel Prize for Peace. Some may have thought this was premature yet this may be a sign of things to come. My prediction is that the Aurora Shooting will become a glimpse of a memory in the line of many other events only because we will be more focused on peace. The very act of focus, of meditation, can create change. This has also been highly researched. One of my favorite examples is of the Tibetan monks who can change their body temperature in scientific experiments. Persons can use mind-body and spiritual techniques to change energy forms and this would include our communities, our bodies, our responses and this is teachable behavior. It may require months or years of training and removal from certain conditions, but is attainable.
So, as I think about that conversation with the physician, days after the Aurora, CO shooting when I mentioned that we could genetically test persons for the “violence” or “mental illness” gene I believe I was quick in thought but not in spirit. I would like to have said that we could teach others, perhaps in school, and in early childhood, that we can create peace in our minds and through our families and in our communities. We could teach young children to meditate and to accept love and be love. We would require this as part of our high school graduate requirements. It is a duty to create more peace as it will one day be the norm and the internet and the news will reflect this. In fact, several websites have been started which I will link below, and they should be commended:
Much Love and Peace,
Cynthia Djengue, BA, MSW, CHC