Starved for Attention

It seems as though mass shootings in the United States have hit an epidemic level. Every couple of days we see a different mass shooting event on the evening news. Churches, schools, Las Vegas, even movie theaters have, literally, come under fire. Unfortunately, the two sides of the gun control debate are firmly entrenched in their own positions, neither side willing to trust the other to express anything genuine to address the issue.

For the record, I am a gun owner, but I am not a member of the NRA or a big gun enthusiast. I own a gun simply for protection. I guess I am not here, really, to get into the whole gun debate, but look more at what may be helping to spur these events.

After these mass shootings, one of the things that irks me the most in the aftermath is how the news organizations plaster pictures of the shooter all over the internet and our television screens. They dig into their pasts, putting together produced segments on the shooter, the shooter’s family, and the shooter’s friends. In my eyes, the media, nor anyone else, should utter the shooter’s name, nor show pictures of the perpetrator(s). It seems like what so many of these people are seeking … attention.

It’s easy for me as a 50-year-old to sit here and point the finger at young people and talk about how they are always seeking attention. How they can’t go five minutes without checking their phones to see how many likes they got on a social media post or whether or not anyone retweeted their latest video. How many Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram followers they have. Yes, it would be easy for me to point the finger at today’s youth, but as a 50-year-old, I am guilty of the same things!

Heck, me even writing this blog post, I am hoping people like it and read it. I hope it gets them to think or maybe spark some kind of conversation, but I am still seeking attention for it, and myself, I guess. When it comes down to it, we all want to be liked and we all want to be loved.

Could that be the simple cause of violence in the United States? A lack of true interaction and love? Do too many people seek satisfaction online through social media, video games, or even porn? Not saying any or all of these things are bad, but when that’s the ONLY interaction you receive, then, yes, I can see it possibly causing problems. I can see how some individuals become insensitive to human life. They interact, often negatively, through social media, play shoot ’em up in video games, and then end their days watching women being degraded in porn.

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Again, I am not a psychologist. These are simply my thoughts. The thing that puzzles me with those observations is that other countries face the same things.  The United States has not cornered the market on social media, video games, or porn, so why does our country have so much more gun violence? Could it be our lax gun control laws or even something just as bad … our deteriorating health care system?

I have not looked through all the numbers, but with people struggling to get basic health care, it’s not hard to deduce that more and more people are not getting treatment for mental health issues. How many, if any, of these shootings, could have been prevented through the proper diagnosis of a mental health issue? That mental health issue would certainly limit someone from buying a gun, right? Not necessarily in the United States. Maybe if someone diagnosed with a mental health issue was limited in their ability to purchase a weapon, things may have been different? No way of knowing.

This is a deeply troubling issue in our country. Unfortunately, it seems that most people are too entrenched in their opinions that they have gone deaf to listening to any opinions but there own. That is no way to solve this or any issue. A true discussion needs to be had to solve this and many other issues that plague our country. Pointing fingers and calling names isn’t going to fix anything. You may get more likes or followers for spewing out some crap about the other side, but that is only contributing to the problem, not solving it. It’s often said that we need common sense gun laws. Common sense seems about as common these days as seeing an 8-track tape player.

I don’t know. I wonder if our problems can ever get better. With 24-hour media spinning things one way or another and social media as the wild wild west of truth and lies, it’s hard for me to see this problem getting solved in my lifetime. The 24-hour news cycle and social media are like toothpaste. You can’t put them back into the tube.

Oh, yeah, by the way, please click like on my blog. : )

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