Guest Post: “Roots of Violence Found in Culture” by Debra Harshaw

Debra initially posted her deep reflections on Facebook. I asked her to guest post here because her insights are comprehensive – and well written. She provokes us to look in our back yard, to change our values, and  to make a “paradigm shift,” —  so that all children will have a deep sense of connection, of belonging, and so that peace will reign over violence. Thank you, Debra.

canstockphoto10576990Following the shootings in Newtown CT, I’ve been reflecting on how such horrific violence can be prevented. The majority of blog posts and media reports suggest that the only solution is to implement gun control. I do not think that gun control, or ‘common sense regulation’, as some have suggested, is all that is needed. The problem for the American people goes much deeper than that.

The wise old adage that “it takes a village to raise a child” has never been more true than now. A society that places little value on the raising, nurturing and support of their beautiful children and their over-worked, over-stressed parents will unfortunately produce individuals that are dangerously disconnected from their fellow humans. A society that demands that new moms go back to work after as little as 6 weeks of maternity leave — what kind of bonding and connection occurs in such a short period of time? What kind of bond will occur afterwards —  when the parent returns home exhausted, and the newborn sees more of the care giver than of his or her parents?

I tried to get my head around what could possibly cause a young man, just 20 years old, to do this terrible deed. Perhaps intense anger drove him to kill his own parent, one who by all accounts, was doing the best job that she could.

But why the attack on the school, shooting and killing? That did not make sense — until today’s news revealed that he was a special needs child. Painfully shy, socially immature. Probably got picked on, ridiculed, bullied –ah, that brings us to another serious problem seen among our youth today — the problem of bullying. These bullied children suffer depression and anger. They become disconnected from their peers, and family. Some turn their anger inwards and choose suicide. Others turn their anger outwards and become a danger to the people around them. What programs exist out their to support these children, to support their parents? How much funding is available to bring this kind of care into our neighbourhoods? Don’t kid yourself, folks, we, in Canada, do not have nearly enough support for our children and their families either. That problem crosses borders.

I do not think that there is an easy answer to this terrible tragedy. Our American neighbours have a huge and seemingly improbable task ahead of them. It requires an important paradigm shift, away from making money at all costs, to nurturing the family, reconnecting their citizens and developing in every one of our beautiful children (and their parents) a true sense that they belong, and that they have a place in our world.


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