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Simone Klien

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Beyond Security

Posted: 07/20/2012 11:58 pm

After every mass shooting, Americans almost always respond in the same way: by strengthening security in public areas. However, it is questionable if security is the only area that should be focused on.

When I first read about the shooting in Colorado, I felt a bit sympathetic toward the suspect, James Holmes. In the Los Angeles Times, he was described as a "loner" by law enforcement agents. Clearly, this man was acting out of desperation after a life of being a social outcast. Although that is not an excuse for his actions, it brings to light a problem that has proven to be a trend.

Most mass shootings are performed by people who feel socially isolated from their peers and community. Instead of focusing on strengthening security, policymakers need to hone in on the problem at hand: when people feel withdrawn from others they are more likely to act out in violent ways.

In America, there is a stigma about therapy. Some individuals feel that mental health is not important, that therapy is only for extremely mentally unstable people. As a result, people who could benefit tremendously from going to therapy and seeking the medical attention they need are convinced by societal pressures no to reach out to a therapist.

So now we have kids who grow up as outcasts without any support to help them better communicate with others. Instead of growing closer to people, as they age they become increasingly detached. For some people, the detachment and resentment toward the society that has made them feel excluded for so many years turns into hatred strong enough to kill.

The best way to stop this trend is by going to the root of the problem and helping children early on find the emotional support they need to grow up and live meaningful and productive lives. If we want to keep our countrymen safe, the answer is not necessarily to limit their use of firearms, but to help those who clearly cannot relate to those around them and make them feel more comfortable with other people. It is time to stop repeating the same course of action after a great tragedy and time to start thinking of what is really going to limit the chances of such an event from recurring.

 
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