Pupils leaving a school on the same complex as neighbouring Albertville high school - in Winnenden, near Stuttgart, Germany, Wednesday, March 11, 2009
################################# A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black opened fire at his former high school - in southwestern Germany on Wednesday, killing at least 16 people and injuring others before fleeing the scene, police said. (AP Photo/Daniel Maurer) Wednesday, March 11, 2009 a (AP Photo/Daniel Maurer) The young gunman was slain by the police.
UPDATE: My comments below were written quickly after the Germany tragedy and before I read about the horrific killings in the US - so that's why it was barely mentioned. So, I definitely want to say that this post is simply taking the German one as a starting place only. I really appreciate the dialogue that we've got started here, what with the Comments below and one I received by email. I hope that we will be able to keep this going awhile...
And perhaps come to some new insights - each and all...
SO HOW DO WE PREVENT VIOLENCE?
Regarding Gun Control: I'm speaking in general - not specifically about Germany. Susanne, my co-blogger, informed me that they DO have gun control in Germany and that it is very difficult to get a gun. There's some items evidently coming out now that the young man may have stolen the gun from his father who evidently had it legally for sports reasons. Evidently, the father had to prove that he was using the gun for sports to be able to have it & had to keep bringing a police record (without having any entries at all, evidently!) to the authorities every few years.
However, evidently the father may have failed to follow the requirements for keeping sports guns: keeping them - unloaded - in a locked steel locker and the other parts in a different locked locker. The father may also have failed by leaving the key somewhere where his son could get to them?
So, there are these items of concern about guns - their availability and the societal and household preventatives of their misuse. Of course there are various positions on gun laws - both politically and personally - which vary from country to country and even within various regions in the US. And of course, there's a lot more than the guns themselves involved. There are a number of positions - even within the abolition and moratorium of the death penalty movements.
Also, control of guns may have more to do with America...maybe little if anything to do with Germany. And there is room for dialogue and differences here.
Continuing...I bring up mental illness - here again, there's much to know and to discuss - as the dialogue below in the comments will show.
Refusing to let our states, cities, nation dump mentally ill - helping folk get the help they need for mental illness, homelessness, addictions, anger managements, true rehab in prisons, affordable counseling? Are we staying aware of what's happening to make violence and murders more rampant?
Are we encouraging our youth to stay away from places where they are more likely to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? How else, what else are we forgetting or failing to do?
I am particularly concerned about this major need since not only is it hard within families especially after a certain age - I live right across from an at-risk group of kids in a subdivision who don't feel accepted nor fit in well to most available programs for kids (many have learning disabilities, most live in "mixed" families - racially. I grew up in the town where the Columbine school murders took place. My husband and I have also adopted at-risk youth and have a bi-racial family.
I have been involved most my life in seeking to help someway with alternative programs that have a chance of working for those who simply don't fit in. I've helped get groups started in my town for such efforts and have conducted support groups and provided transportation to many folk who are willing to go to 12-step meetings, conferences and related. And yet, I feel that I know almost nothing about prevention.
Here again, this is only the tip of the iceberg on what resources and studies we may be lacking.
With the very recent horrific tragedies in Germany and the US affecting so many people - not unlike you and me - we really need to be about healing and prevention along with forgiveness, reconciliation and abolishing the death penalty, no? We know that our "justice" and execution systems are not proven to prevent these terrible killings. In fact, the costs of executing in the US is often taking away money that could be applied to prevention.
Here's a little on the recent news of the (perhaps preventable) German multiple murders - JUST IN -includes VIDEOS - The closeup photo here of the officers young faces is particularly haunting! here
Also go: here
And news about the Tuesday US shooting sprees:
When I was a very young adult working in a hospital for mentally ill and handicapped and toward a license to work professionally in such, I organized a program of staff, doctors, neighborhood leaders concerning the "letting out" of challenged folk with little to no support in neighborhoods where they were not wanted. So what's new? Except perhaps a higher number of such folk with fewer support systems then ever due to the economy and lack of planning and awareness among most of us?
Just two days ago, the following just happened to be on this rare yet MUCH needed blog, Prevention Not Punishment, about the stupid dumping in San Antonio of mentally ill folk: here
Here are some classic & some current items - Op Ed by one of abolitionists' favorite writers Bob Herbert, Op Ed writer for the New York Times with some readers' comments. NOTE: in an attempt to be timely & fair, I may leave or eventually add some links to positions we don't necessarily endorse. (Again, these only barely touch upon one perspective and part of prevention -- related to the US)
Here are the classic items by Bob Herbert: here and Go: here as well as: here
Debates at large (which of course relate to America): here and Go
I hope to keep adding a few URLS/links to this post so keep coming back! I am also eager to see what my co-blogger Susanne who lives in Germany may have to say or add - if and when she is able and willing - although I'm sure she's stunned and saddened by this news!
We will try to add a few more URLS that are about other preventatives later.
PLEASE contribute your own responses, concerns, thoughts on prevention in the COMMENTS section. Thanx as always for tuning in! Keep watching Comments more....