Friday, July 20, 2012

Aurora, CO Shooting–The Root of it All

Last night just before midnight, I was giving a statement to two police officers regarding an incident that really disturbed me.  In the incident, a four-year-old girl and a five-year-old girl had been playing and words were exchanged.  So what?  This happens daily all around the world.

But what happened next doesn’t happen all around the world.

The four-year-old girl left the scene, went home, obtained a steak knife and returned with it to “settle the discussion”.  According to the girl, her mom told her to do it.  Fortunately no one was hurt and appropriate authorities are now dealing with it.

As I talked to police about this last night, I made an observation about the type of environment a child grows up in that would have taught them that this is how we deal with our problems – with violence and with weapons.  I also made a comment along the lines of “I wonder where this kid will be in 20 years - will she mature normally or are we witnessing the early signs of a messed up life”.

Several hours later, a 24-year-old gunman in Aurora, Colorado killed 12 people and injured 38 at an early screening of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” using a combination of tear gas, automatic weapons, shotguns and pistols.

After my sadness, shock and anger had passed, I asked a question: “I wonder what this kid’s life was like 20 years ago?” and I thought of the young girl in the police report I filed just hours before.

Statistics show that mental illness continues to grow, gun ownership in America (including people-killer guns) continues to grow and the pressures of basic Life continue to squeeze tighter.

Three statistics that don’t go well together.

The President told us last weekend that if you are a businessman who is successful that you can’t take credit for it.  In his speech, he said that credit belongs to everyone who may have helped you, including teachers, governments and other entities.

As I noted in the blog Democrats: Kicking Our Butt Instead of Kissing It:

If I have to give away all the credit for the successes in my Life, can I also blame the same people for my failures and shortcomings?

While none of us are solely responsible for this act, we collectively are accountable and responsible for the environment, the laws and everything else that produces or enables it.

And as people inevitably start shouting for changes to laws and anything else that allows them to push responsibility onto others for making the world a better place, I think we need to also examine ways that we can do our part.

In the case of the young girl I was talking to police about, it’s too easy to say “ah, kids will be kids” and not do anything about it.

But that’s not taking responsibility for what is going on around us and in the case of this child, may be denying her the help that she may need.  She’s sending out a beacon of warning and a cry for help with such action and I responded to it.

What beacons do you see around you – beacons calling you to respond and to take action?

We need to work harder to make this place a better, safer one.

But we can start tomorrow.

For today, the people in Aurora, Colorado, need our support, our love and our prayers - for the lost, for the wounded and for everyone else affected there.

Let’s take time to grieve.

Then let’s take time to understand ….

To make decisions …

To take action …

To demand and expect improved accountability, responsibility and results in making this a better world ….

Not only from others but from ourselves as well.

A Life well lived is a beautiful thing.

But it is a proactive experience – not a passive one.

In service and servanthood,


Support Aurora

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