By Andrew L. Pate, Jr.
As has become our habit, we Americans attack a problem around its edges, instead of at its core. And we never find a lasting solution. So it is with our "mass murders," those too frequent events during which an unstable person or person(s) slay(s) a startling number of human beings, as most recently happened in Boulder, CO and in a northern suburb of Atlanta, GA.
Already, the "gun controllers" and the "pro gunners" have chosen sides and are wailing away at one another, promising more weeks of heated debate, at the end of which we''ll be back where we started: expecting at any moment to hear of another multiple-fatality-shooting in some crowded public place.
As the saying goes, it doesn't take "a rocket scientist" to know that the shooters in these awful events are, one and all, unhealthy, mentally ill individuals who have failed to find their place in a society that has, in large measure, been the enabling environment for their illness.
Years ago, Rodney King asked the necessary question: "Why can't we all just get along."
Well, we can't because (a) we don't really want to and (b) we don't know how. As a "theologian-minister" I find it helpful to observe that in the 21st century Adam and Eve love their forbidden fruit too much to stop eating of it. In other words, "We like things the way they are." If we did not, we would already have discovered workable solutions to the causes of our instabilities.
But racists and hedonists resist alteration much more so than do, shall we say, "people with less self-centered inclinations.," an increasingly, decreasing minority in modern times.,
We the majority want what we want. Period.
There are many causes for our fall into national narcissism. #1 is the driving force of modern times, the desire to enjoy all the pleasures and delights modernity has to offer, which requires money of course. The #2 cause is obviously the declining influence of unselfish advocacy.
In part, our situation in 2021 confirms the decline of institutional Christianity. Fewer and fewer youth are indoctrinated with the idea that they mus be "good little boys and girls," to make it in this world. Absent that, they are thrust haphazardly onto the "success" merry-go-round for a lifetime.
Not every young person can survive on this rapidly spinning merry-go-round. It twirls too fast and does not cater to loafers, to, that is, those "slow to learn" the ways of success.
At the sane time, we expect all evolving adults to be responsible, obey the laws, drive carefully, handle guns safely and, yes, we expect them to feel good enough about themselves, even when they have very little to feel good about.
I don't have solutions. But I do know this: We must identify early our "slow success" learners' and find ways to keep them moving toward meaningful achievements, like providing them with a job they can handle, thus making it possible for then to live independently and also, hopefully, enable them to fall in love and build a family of their own.
No wonder youth are delaying marriage.