Friday, July 27, 2012

What's wrong in America

When I first heard the news of last week's Aurora theater shooting, my first thought was that someone in his circle should have seen warning signs. A promising young man, as he was, simply doesn't drop out of a PhD program after letting his grades drop unless there is something spiritually or emotionally wrong. Nobody saw that? C'mon!

When one looks back at the history of this kind of violence, every case had warning flags that were ignored. Every case!

In the news today, come reports that the Aurora shooter sent at least one message that should have been considered a frightened plea for help and a huge red flag that trouble was brewing. The package sat unopened in a mail room until the tragedy was executed -- over a week! It was addressed to a psychiatrist -- a person trained to help such people in need of help. A grand failure in the helping professions!

His reported demeanor during his first court appearance tells me that he could have been helped -- and stopped -- and he wanted that. Everyone around him let him down. And, today, those people know it.

James Holmes legally bought guns and ammo because his nationally-manded FBI background check revealed no criminal record, drug addiction, history of mental illness, and other prohibiting characteristics. That background check can only look into a buyer's documented past. It cannot read the mind of the buyer nor the minds of those who should know that the buyer is potentially dangerous.

We certainly don't want to live in a society where everyone is chronically suspicious of each other's mental fitness and reporting insignificant things to the authorities. But, if a friend or a professor -- especially the professor to whom he sent his plea for help -- had simply said something like, "Hey, Jim, you seem troubled. Wanna talk about it?", life in Aurora could very well be happier today.

The bottom line is, if you see a coworker, a family member, a friend, or a neighbor having a bad spell. Do or say something! These events are predictable and preventable!
And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper? -- Genesis 4:9.

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