This is the epitome of frustration for me; wondering what could have prevented random violence. Would stricter gun laws help? Better mental health care access? What? Here’s a story from The Daily Beast about a recent shooting at a New Mexico high school. Read to the end.
One of the links hinted at in the story but not actually placed:
(the 7th post has a list of info about this kid, including aliases he used and various forums, journals, etc)
What really strikes me here is there was a pretty clear pattern for a very long time. I have no idea what the statistics are on how many people exhibit this level of behavior for how long, so it may be just hindsight to point it out. And during his life, it’s not likely any one person would have seen the whole landscape. But this kid did reach out for help. He did ask. When the FBI visited, however, it’s not clear how much of this they knew. If they did, would they have suggested help? I don’t know.
So here’s something to think about. When you encounter someone struggling, offer a kind word. You may be the only one who does, and it may not be enough. But it could, and you’ll not have wasted a moment of your time. I’m not suggesting getting drawn in, trying to save people, or interfering. Just be kind. If there’s reason to suspect a threat, tell the authorities (just remember that they get thousands of reports, so can’t succeed with every one). But short of that, remember we’re all here together. One voice, one friendly story, maybe some advice about packing up and moving along… maybe nothing. It could be worth everything, though.