This weekend was not great for America.
There were two mass shootings that killed 9 and 22 people respectively. They occurred in populated areas where people were just going about their lives.
Between July 28th and now, there have been three mass killings!
This is not okay.
Of the three shootings, one left a "manifesto" that essentially agreed with the one supposedly written by the Christchurch mosque shooter.
There is a lot of talk about these shootings.
I'm not going to detail anything more about them other than simply mentioning them.
What I will do is discuss the reasoning behind them and what we as Americans can do going forward.
First off, one of the major reasons for mass shootings seems to be an issue of mental health. I mean, it takes someone who is "mental" to think that shooting random people is an okay thing to do.
I hear a lot of people on the news and radio talk about background checks for gun sales, and even a resurgence of "See something, Say something".
Here's the problem; people, by and large, are either too self absorbed or too afraid to say something because they don't want to appear racist or bigoted etc.
We are told that we should report things when we notice problems, but then we find out later that certain "mass shooters" were already on the radar of law enforcement and nothing was done.
Or at least nothing was done that would have actually helped.
Something that I firmly believe would help people is simply having someone to talk to.
It's incredible how effective it is when you find someone who is willing to listen and be there for you.
When I was younger, there was no such thing as social media, there was no internet, there weren't even cell phones. All of these things have appeared over the past 30 years.
I remember when the first smart phones came out!
I even had the first Android phone. The HTC G1.
Then when Apple decided to get into the game, it forever changed.
MySpace was huge for a while because it provided a way to make your own page and for a lot of people was a stepping stone toward understanding how to code.
MySpace was missing something though. There was no way to see what other people were posting. The personal interactions were limited.
Then came Facebook.
I remember when Facebook first appeared on my own radar. I was in Oregon going to college and some of my friends told me about a new website that was only for college students. I had to get an invite in order to start an account.
Funny, looking back on that, it seems like a hundred years ago.
Things change so fast.
That's part of the problem as well.
In this world of "who can get the breaking news story first", a lot of investigation gets passed right over.
This constant "looking forward" mentality is only good for a short time. There needs to be a time to reflect on history.
We all need to take a moment and recognize our successes AND mistakes. We need to examine what we did wrong and learn from these mistakes, then we can grow and not do them again.
Maturity is important.
Of the people who committed these mass shootings over the past couple weekends, all of them were younger than 25 years old.
It's incredible to think that these young men were all at the age where they were able to really start their own lives. They should have been either going to college or graduating, getting their first career type job, starting a family...
But instead of these things, they decided to take a gun and shoot people.
I don't understand the reasoning.
Here's my own recommendation on how to stem the tide of these shootings: Be Kind!
Don't allow your anger to get the better of you!
Listen and pay attention to your friends.
Be present and truly listen when someone talks to you.
Smile at people more.
Say "Hi" to people before launching into a set of grievances. (One of those things that needs to happen more in Retail!)
These are just a few small steps that can have a huge effect.
I've seen businesses post notes on their doors that tell their patrons to put down the phone and pay attention to the people they're sitting there with.
I'm not saying that the ability to have technology at our fingertips is bad or even the cause of these type of events, but understanding that direct human interaction is actually important is definitely a step in the right direction.
I firmly believe that if these "shooters" had good friends who were willing to listen and offer good guidance, the shootings would never have happened in the first place.
So let's all take a moment and reflect.
Let's make a decision to listen, pay attention and be present with our friends, relatives and co-workers.
Until we all start with ourselves first, we will continue seeing these things happen.
I'm rooting for all of US!
See ya soon!