As someone who was bullied by many, I have always sought out loners as friends, as friendship and support is what I wanted for myself when I was bullied. However, not all loners are fortunate enough to have good friends, and some even experience friendship bullying. As a result, sometimes (often) the victim becomes the perpetrator in an attempt to take back power and get revenge.
Ever since the first shooting, I’ve firmly believed that the shootings are a result of apathy and angst (from a feeling that things are stacked against us), a sense of hopelessness to affect change, the fruitless search for any real meaning to our lives, and a lack of true leadership. When I say that, I mean leadership in all segments of society, from political, religious, and corporate institutions, and particularly the family of origin itself. Just as all humans, these shooters sought belonging, validation, and a cause to rally behind. Some people would rather fight for the wrong cause than no cause at all, and that’s one of our problems. Some believe that all people do the best they can given their understanding of the world. If all they see is a world that glorifies and rewards hatred and violence, then that is something we need to change.
There are no more or very few noble heroes nowadays, because the news does not find them to be newsworthy. Therefore, people are choosing competitive winners who take advantage of each other and the systems that made them winners. Alternatively, we have incapable leaders ignorant to secondary effects, such as self-help gurus and life coaches, “solopreneurs” (individual entrepreneurs) motivated mostly by paying bills to support their family alone, and investment frauds who made money by telling people how to make money. Worst of all, we also have cult leaders and gang leaders who expand emotional abuse past a one-to-one relationship and damage one’s ability to trust.
Another one of the problems is the fact that humans tie their self-worth to money and status that they believe that those with less money are not worth as much as they are. And yet another problem is the fact that people do not question what they are taught.
People, including my husband, don’t have role models not just because there is not enough representation, but because leadership is not a quality that motivates enough people. Back in the days when apprenticeships proliferated, being perceived as someone with good character was enough to incentivize and reward people to be good people even if it was mostly under the guise of one religion. When Baby Boomers talk about the good ole days, it’s not because they’re white nationalists, but because they remember when people were hospitable to each other and equated charity with love.
Our leader might be good at following through with action, but even if he acts on what he thinks his constituency wants, he is doing it the wrong way. Even if he continues to react out of defensiveness from media portrayal, we need a leader who knows the effective use of emotion. Pete Buttigieg is an example of such a leader, and he has a service plan to give young adults purpose and meaning. However, I’m not just endorsing one candidate; everyone has good ideas that no one else is talking about, such as Marianne Williamson’s idea that if we make this country the best place to raise a child that we will solve a great deal of our social ills or Andrew Yang’s idea that automation is a threat to our nation. As for automation, we’re losing jobs to automation because critical thinking is so underused that we don’t even value each other’s intuition and judgment over a robot’s emotion-free logic.
Please let’s stop making it an issue of who’s the villain in this political charade. The Ohio shooter was a Democrat, so that argument does not hold. As with prison reform, this is a bipartisan issue, and it takes more than just surface-level magic bullet gun control to solve it.
What the nation needs is education in the following:
- Bullying prevention;
- Depression and the different types (in plain language without too much psychobabble);
- Healthy relationships;
- Quantum physics so people understand the value of how spirituality connects to the physical world; and
- Personal finance and geography, as most people don’t realize that many of our current issues could be better understood with those two.
The nation also needs the following policies, whether public or private:
- All health insurance to pay fully or in part for mental health counseling;
- Providing awareness of art therapy, gym memberships, and/or other therapies that are proven to work for mental health;
- Enforcing anti-monopoly laws;
- Extended family leave for both new mothers and fathers;
- Free online, phone, and face-to-face support groups for everyone, not just addicts, with and/or without professional involvement;
- Free or affordable marriage counseling, per Andrew Yang’s proposal
- Implementation of bipartisan background checks AND red flag laws (as background checks were not enough to bar the most recent shooters who acquired guns legally);
- Implementation of the triple bottom line in businesses, which values both people and the environment;
- Service to the community, per Pete Buttigieg’s proposal, to get out of our own heads;
- Social media reform, including time limits to avoid spending time on comparison and eradication of anonymity; and
- Video game reform.
But, most importantly, what the nations needs is taking personal responsibility via the following ways:
- Changing our thinking on an individual level about synergy vs. separation;
- Constituting ourselves as community (shoutout to Landmark Education(TM)), which means, in a sense, to not just to love one another as ourselves, but also to take responsibility for the world we created at both a spiritual and physical level;
- Focusing on what we want instead of what we don’t want;
- Focusing on what we’re thankful for instead of what we bemoan;
- Giving youth a community where they can affect change;
- Opting for transparency and sharing among different segments; and
- Taking actions to affect positive change rather than placing blame on our political parties, our leaders, our schools, our corporations, our government, our banks, etc.
It takes more than a nation to raise a child; all inhabitants of this world have a responsibility to every single person. We are all one. Consider the ways that you can affect positive change by writing your own list.