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The world needs your love

Ni Marilyn C. Arayata

He said he was bullied most of his life, he never felt liked in school, his parents always had “loud angry, drunken arguments”, and he was full of anger. Guess whose descriptions these are from! These are the words of a 14-year old South Carolina mass shooter who was unable to handle his father’s questioning on spending and homework. He shot his father, drove the latter’s truck to a nearby school, and fired at children on the playground. The teen-ager was full of anger. One day, a triggering event made him snap. His father reportedly owned guns. Are we still surprised that he ended up becoming violent?

Every time people choose to become silent bystanders when someone is bullied, every time they fail to protect children from stressful home situations, every time they choose negativity, there is always an effect, although it may not always be immediate. When they fail to defend someone or themselves from any kind of attack, undesirable behaviors are reinforced and not properly addressed – so the victims start to feel more and more helpless, angry and bitter. Lack of compassion and empathy, exposure to violent videos, having unguided peers, access to weapons, and worst, living in a violent environment can aggravate things.

The truth need not be camouflaged. Ours is a troubled world. Incidents of violent attacks are increasing due to various factors, the most interesting of which is the perpetrators’ anger which may be deeply rooted and may be explained by traumatic childhood experiences.

One psychologist explained that envy and revenge are among the reasons for violent attacks, particularly mass shooting incidents. For example, it was reported that the Florida mass shooter was expelled from the school which he attacked. The expulsion was after a fight with the new boyfriend of the attacker’s former girlfriend.

We may not be able to help heal all wounded souls, but we can be a little bit nicer to everybody. Help prevent bullying. Defend and protect people who are hurting. Avoid quarreling and having heated arguments in front of children. Give them more time and attention. Teach them how to cope with losses and pressures. See to it that weapons are not easy to access. Encourage troubled individuals to seek counselling and look for positive outlets. Be a peacemaker. “Hatred stirs up conflict.” The world needs your love!

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