Man or Material? Who to blame?

More than 5 years ago, horrified at watching the events unfold on US national television, I had penned a post on the Virginia Tech shootings and my despair at events back home. Click here to read it. Since then a lot has changed. The Bush administration made way for Obama, Osama Bin Laden was killed, India won the World Cup and more. But as far as massacres go, nope, nothing much seems to have changed. The world witnessed yet another horrific school shooting yesterday in the state of Connecticut. Click here to know more.

The Americans fought for and against gun control back then and they continue to do it now. A lot has been said about why guns shouldn’t be made available to civilians. Individuals on the other side of the line have also vehemently pushed for stricter controls but not a ban – quoting the need for self-defense, hunting , yada yada. So do we say the gun is to blame? Ban or control gun usage to civilians and the problem goes away? 

Some 6000+ odd miles away, on the other side of the globe, on the very same day, a man went ballistic and slashed 22 elementary school children with a knife. No gun. This was not the first instance. Earlier in 2010, another man did the same thing. And there have been more precedents. Click here to know more.

I am all for gun control. And then, I am all for knife control too. While we’re at it, lets hide the garden rakes, tube lights and anything within sight which can be used as weapons of mass murder. Where does it stop? It pains me but it angers me more on how reckless men can go around murdering innocent children. Yes, with gun control, we definitely would be lowering the odds of this happening, lowering the easy availability of such weapons of mass destruction. But somehow I fear that it won’t stop it. 

While the psychology of the US school shooter is unknown, it is said that job losses and frustration over the same triggered the killings in China. Tolerance and patience levels within humans are falling at a very alarming rate. And that is why, simply blaming the material won’t work because its the man who ultimately pulled the trigger. 

Like in the case of suicide victims. Personally I frown upon people who take the step. But sitting here, its easy for me to pass judgement that they’re taking the easy way out and leaving their families to bear the horror and face the truth and bleed for them. But I also accept that jumping from a 20 floor building is not easy. I wonder what kind of helplessness drives people to take that extreme step, what is they find beyond repair that they’re ready to jump to their deaths or slit their wrists and die a slow painful death than face the problems? 

Somewhere a thread ties back to these people too. Mass murderers. In the shooting case, I wish there were counselors who had spotted the warning signs. Most times you would expect the parents to do that. But in this case, if the shooter shot his father first and then his mother and others – aided by his brother – then its obvious that something was wrong in the family and how could the warning signs have been heeded then? In the case of China slashing – the recent one and the ones before – frustrations on losing their jobs drove them to such despair. I just feel extremely saddened by the turn of events and that with every passing year, it only seems to be getting worse. It’s as if for every person, we need a counselor, a shoulder, a fallback mechanism. And we have too less of them. The thing is how do you identify what events warrant paying more attention to people’s behaviour and attitude? 

Live and Let Live; a message to the Connecticut shooters

I would love to hear your views!