I used to spend a great deal of time reading about murderers. It was a natural progression for me as a student of psychology, back in the 80s. Serial killers like Edmund Kemper and Ted Bundy were all over the news. Aberrations, I thought. I wanted to know more. What makes people who murder different from people who don't? What makes one person kill, while another person in the same situation can just walk away? Is there a way to predict such behavior with any consistency? Those were some of the questions that I had when I began my 'research'. I read books, I talked to people in law enforcement, I attended seminars, etc., until I could stand no more of the darkness, and there were no easy answers.
While certain things do increase the likelihood that one person will kill another, the reality is that the capacity to murder lies within each of us. That is not the happiest of thoughts, but it is truth. How could anyone bear that kind of responsibility without some horror? The good news is that until you make the choice to pull the trigger, there is nothing set in stone. You have a choice. Once you make that choice, there are consequences.
I hear about these shootings, these murders, every day now, and I want to be angry. These killers refuse to accept any responsibility. It's all everybody else's fault, claim the shooter(s), and therefore demands for retribution are justified. The gunman is pulling the trigger, but it's the victim's fault. I've heard that same line before. Bullies blame their behavior on their victims. Abusers blame their abuse on their victims. Rapists blame their rape on their victims.
I want to be angry, but I just feel sad.
Every day a new shooting, another line crossed. We've seen these same stories on the news many, many times. We've become desensitized. We know the drill, and we also
'know' that nothing will change--the NRA, the ultimate bully, will whine about the government
trying to take away guns. The Tea Party will blame the liberals, and the government, crippled by partisan
bickering, will do nothing. There are always pundits blaming anyone they
can find, inflaming the ignorant, without ever accepting any of the responsibility. We as a society just stop listening to any of it.
Until something more horrific happens.
We can keep listening to this music, this cacophony, or we can change the tune.
Maybe we can't control the soulless machine that is the NRA, and we can't fire every single member of Congress. None of us have complete control over the world, but we can control how we respond to it. If there is to be true change, it begins inside of all of us, and spreads outward to connect us. We each have to take responsibility for ourselves, and own up to how our behavior, our choices might affect others, and change. Standing up for the downtrodden, speaking for those with no voice, maintaining a civil discourse, voting the angry out of office--all begin within. Be the change, they say. Be kinder. Apologize when you are wrong. Smile more.
Change the tune. Sing a new song.