Columbine, Virginia Tech and Aurora. The list of mass shootings keeps growing. Each gunman was male, between 17 and 24. Each had struggled to “fit in” at school. Each suffered at one time or another from anxiety, depression, isolation and bullying. All had received treatment for behavioral and emotional problems. People described their behavior before the shootings as bizarre and antisocial.
In retrospect, peers and family often say they aren’t surprised by the shootings. Everyone noticed, but did anyone do anything? And what can be done?
We must be proactive. It’s as easy as asking, “How’s school going? You’ve seemed sad lately.” Or “How can I help?”
A smile or hello when crossing paths might make a difference. Events like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can’t always be predicted or prevented, but if we can embrace others instead of turning away, if we are willing to help, we’ll start to make steps in that direction.
Redding Kingery Jr.