The Norman Transcript

December 24, 2012

How will the violence end?


The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

Is it guns? Is it violent TV shows, movies, or video games? Is it crazy America?

Well, before violent movies, in Bath Township, Michigan, on May 18, 1927, three bombs were exploded at Bath School, killing 38 elementary (second- to sixth-grade) school children, as well as two teachers and four other adults (plus the bomber), and at least 58 others were injured.

The bomber? The treasurer for the School Board, who drove up in his car and set off a bomb to kill and injure those who went to the school to help. That, not Newtown, not Columbine, not Virginia Tech, was the deadliest mass murder in a school in U.S. history. No guns involved, and Hollywood couldn’t be blamed back then.

Nor were there guns — or Americans — involved in another incident Dec. 14, which was mostly pushed out of the news in the U.S. in light of the horrific Connecticut incident: in Henan, China, a man went into a school and stabbed 22 children, plus one adult. Apparently, no one was killed, but one report I read said it was part of a “wave of brutal stabbings and hammerings throughout China” over the past few years. And I thought only the U.S. had trouble with killings and only because of guns!

What lesson can we get from things like what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown? That it’s not something new, it’s not something American, and it’s not about bombs, guns, knives ... or hammers. It’s about the how crazy people (and sometimes not-so-crazy people) turn to violence as an answer to their problems, real or perceived.

The thing that gets me, time and time again, is what causes so much hate in people’s hearts that they’re willing to walk into an elementary school to injure or kill children? Where did this start?” One thing that’s clear is, it started long, long ago. The better question to ask is, How will it end?

Children’s TV host Mr. Rogers once said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.”

It is indeed comforting to know that when something like this does happen, there are always — ALWAYS — helpers to work toward making things better. My hat is off to the first responders who, without any foreknowledge or forewarning, run into the dager to help and serve those in the most dire of troubles.

I believe if our society would “crack down” on those how don’t care, those who don’t have time, those who think “it’s all about me”, we would all be better off and these sorts of tragedies would be greatly reduced if not eliminated.

I don’t know what the answer truly is, but it’s going to have to involve discussion on how we’ve closed most of our mental hospitals, pushing the mentally ill out to fend for themselves, or for ill-equipped families to deal with them without help.

Maybe it is time we focused on the cause and not the symptom.

Are you listening Washington?

MARK MCCURLEY

Phoenix

(formerly of Norman)

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