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No More Heroes
After the recent mass shootings in Buffalo and Orange County and the death of a man who attempted to stop the shooter, I posted this to my Twitter account.
“His heroism is undeniable.
Yet I can’t help wishing that his heroism and death was unnecessary.
We need to address all the issues that led to this attack and others before any more heroes are created.”
In the face of crisis, we often look for hope among the heroes. We look for a salve for our emotions to help us understand and heal. While it is understandable to look for the heroes and celebrate them. In doing so, though, we turn away from the horrendous acts that create them. We want to celebrate the heroes so we don’t have to face reality. I see this over and over again with each tragedy and I want it to stop. I want to stop minting heroes and, instead, create a world where their heroic acts are no longer necessary.
Instead of seeking our solace in heroes, we need to look to our anger. We need to see each attack as an opportunity to take action against those in our society who will take advantage of others for whatever perverse motives they might have. We need to stop abdicating our responsibilities for upholding a civil society where all benefit. We all need to DO something.
It is with my own continuing anger that I witness attacks that were well planned and often well advertised beforehand. We often have opportunities to short circuit these attacks, but we ignore the danger that some people present. If someone is personally and actively presenting themselves as a danger to themselves and others we must develop a diversion program that watches over them and prevents them from carrying out their plans.
If we can’t start with these most egregious examples, we are failures. If we cannot do something about preventing more deaths then we have failed and continue to fail as a people. Every new attack brings a fresh wailing and gnashing of teeth but little more. We bemoan our fate and yet do little to change it. We continue on as we always have and then soon forget what has happened, leaving families to mourn alone and forgotten. This tears at my mind and soul on each new occasion. I am losing hope and so are many others.
One important step we can all take is to attempt to de-radicalize others when we see it. Many of us have divorced ourselves from friends and family who have adopted unreasonable, if not violent, ideologies over the last few years. It is difficult, but we must re-engage with them and help them to move away from violence and back to a reasonable train of thought. Failing that, and it often will fail, we need to refer them to the criminal justice system so that they can, hopefully, be prevented from violence. If not, they are at risk. You are at risk. The public at large is at risk. We have seen too often how one person can have a devastating effect on the world and we need to work to prevent it whenever possible.
Let us all make a pledge for the present and the future. Let us do all we can to prevent radicalization and violence. Let us take action when necessary. Let us NOT ignore the ideologies and people who threaten violence. Most importantly, let us not need any more heroes to die as we have seen in the last few days. While their sacrifices are admiral, they shouldn’t be required.