Time for one of my 'unpopular opinion' articles.
I would love to not write this article. I would love for all of the events that encouraged me to write it to never have happened. But we are where we are.
Over the past 48 hours, I have heard the same common phrases I hear after every tragedy I have had the misfortune to know about. (Only 22 years into my life I have lost count of how many.) I stand with _____. ____ Forever. Never Forgotten. Always Remember. Gun control. Mental health. Warning signs. And countless others that have been repeated time and time again, because we do not know what else to say.
I've noticed a trend in all of the posts and the meme's that have come from the depths of Facebook and beyond since this tragedy occurred. The names and faces of other school shooters and other mass murderers have popped up with the corresponding number of lives they stole with their violent acts. But you know what I have not seen? The names or faces of those numbers. It is more than a statistic. It is too many human lives cut short.
Now comes the unpopular opinion. I truly believe that the means of the destruction is nowhere near as important as the individual or group that has inflicted it. Because if they are determined to cause pain and death, the lack of guns and explosives will not stop them. I acknowledge that the ease of access to guns is a part of the problem, but it is not the only part of the problem. By all means, implement stricter background checks and eliminate the possibility of guns being purchased and sold through pawn shops. Make those changes. But we need to do more.
An experience in my own hometown is a prime example of this. A disgruntled former employee of the local diner tried to kill everyone inside. He went to the front door during the dinner rush yielding a steak knife after setting fire to the back. Luckily, he did not succeed in his efforts and was apprehended by police.
A gun, a knife, a fire, an explosive, a van into a crowd. The weapon changes but the outcome does not. Destruction and pain and grief and promises that no such thing will ever happen again. And then it does.
I'm not pretending to have a solution. No one should be afraid to go to school, to work, to a movie theater or a concert. I wish we didn't live in a world where that fear grips the whole world.
I have heard supposed things that the Stoneman Douglas High School shooter, Nikolas Kruz said while attending the school. One of them was 'I'm going to be a famous school shooter." First off, if this comment was legitimately stated, why was it not previously reported? Second...don't let that desire become a reality.
Most of us are looking at this man as though he is the scum of the earth, which he is. Regardless of his mental health, he committed one of the greatest taboo's of our society. But there is another thought moving through the mind of an equally disturbed individual as he is watching these news clips. He is looking on and envisions his own future plans for similar destruction. To those people, Nikolas Kruz is some sort of idol. Let's take away the idolization of the murderer.
I recall an episode of Criminal Minds. I don't remember the name or what the case was in the episode. What I do remember is that the killer wanted to be remembered through history for his crimes. But the community would not give him that satisfaction and remembered the victims instead. A similar instance happened in NCIS.
This does not solve the problem of innocent lives being lost for a senseless reason as wanted to be a famous killer. Right now, Nikolas Kruz is being discussed in the news more than any of the victims. The victims are not just the people who lost their lives. It is also a community of individuals and families that will never be the same. A wide-reaching net of connections to that one mass shooting, as with all the others. Make them the priority. Investigate your crime and let him fade away into obscurity. In my mind, there is no greater punishment than being forgotten.