Comments on the Red Lake Shootings

One of the saddest things about the recent school shooting here in Minnesota is that many people (myself included) aren’t surprised by it. There isn’t a sense of shock or even calls for reform. What can we do? What has to happen for events such as these to be shocking again?
I have heard interviews with local residents claiming that they felt safe going into the school because of the guards and metal detectors at the doors. That makes people feel safe? This is how we are fixing the problem? Does anyone think that metal detectors and guards are going to stop acts like this? People who do are fooling themselves with quick-fix, knee-jerk reactions that do nothing to cure the causes of such acts.
While the media outlets all focus on Nazis, video games, blogging, violent videos, and mean faces, the root causes of this and other such actions are greatly under-investigated. Some have written that Weise had been taking the anti-depressant Prozac but seem interested only in taking shots at the drug with such stories. Maybe it is too soon, but what I have yet to see is an earnest attempt to discuss a major problem our society has: ever weakening social networks, a diminishing sense of community, and lack of feelings of responsibility for the well-being our fellow citizens.
I don’t mean to sound like a hippy here, but I think that we wouldn’t be seeing as much violence in schools (or elsewhere) if there were more loving of thy neighbor. Today we spend more time away from our communities than ever before. We commute to work alone, pick up lunch at a drive-thru and eat at our desks, go home to a home just like everyone else, filled with all the same things, yet we go there and spend time alone with only our immediate families.
It is somewhat ironic that this tragedy occurred on a native tribal reservation as this would be a place where, in theory, the sense of community is stronger. But it shows just how troubling life can become for a young kid who has lost his most important connections (both his parents) and the community fails to support him (in the form of allowing him to be bullied and teased unremittingly).
Things like these events didn’t always happen. They couldn’t – people were too involved in each otherís lives to allow the type of isolation and despair that young, Jeff Weise experienced. And while I do not pretend to think the failings of contemporary communities are the only forces at work in events such as these, I do believe these failings play a very important role that is under-reported.
Reference:
A chronology of recent school shootings

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