People who find their way to this blog will not be asking the same questions about this massive tragedy that most of mainstream America will be asking –
Connecticut elementary school shooting this morning
My first question would be, “What are we doing as a nation, as a society, as a culture, that fosters the eruption of violence?”
What were the conditions of life conception to age two for this – possibly these – mentally ill shooters? Will anyone ask this most important question?
Violence is a form of mental illness. America is a violent culture. Until we get our priorities right as to the care of infants and children who need absolutely safe and secure early attachment relationships with caregivers – primarily with their mother during their first 33 months of life – to grow up healthy and ‘right’ – we cannot feign ignorance when crimes erupt among us.
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9 thoughts on “+SHOOTING CHILDREN? WHAT IS OUR NATIONAL MADNESS?”
..and, I told my flock that “empathy is obviously out of style in our society”..
I think we have so interfered with the natural processes of early attachment – which is where empathy abilities are built – that we no longer remember what empathy is.
Yep…there are so many that are altered.We don’t remember what empathy is!!Dark times are coming..
Linda, your comments about differences in male/female physiology have the ring of truth to me. It amazes me that after all this time, NONE of the mass-media commentators in the aftermath of any shooting has ever posed the question: “Wait a minute – have you noticed that it’s always MALES who do these shootings?”
I’ve only ever heard that kind of discussion way off in the corners of public discourse, by only a few people…and it’s never made it into the larger conversation.
Of course, if the shootings were being done by girls only, the media would be all over that, clamoring for an end to “Female violence!” Headlines everywhere would read: “What’s going on with our daughters? What are we doing wrong?”
When I was doing DV treatment work I was very conscious of that dynamic. But I left that field in 2005. That your reply wakes me up to it again reminds of it, and also reminds me how quickly we get so used to a social condition, we barely notice the most obvious questions…unless of course we make a point of remaining conscious of them…
I see the same ‘going-unconscious-to-a-phenomenon’ blindness involved in our mass ignorance about the prevalence of shame in our culture…and of course the shame-violence connection is obvious, but only to those who actually study it. It should be common knowledge, but isn’t. Anyone interested in knowing more about that could look at either or both of these books:
Dear Linda, what can I say but you are so totally on the same page as I am about this, only the most recent, shooting event…in a long, long line of such tragic events.
I just learned of it from a friend who texted me a few minutes ago. Here’s what I replied:
It’s been a long time since I’ve been surprised by school shootings (or other large-scale shootings). The only thing that surprises me about them now is that there aren’t more of them.
In our collective ignorance of how trauma is created we keep adding to the overall amount of trauma everywhere. It is tragic because we now know very clearly how to prevent trauma. But we resist implementing that knowledge and teaching it widely, because we would have to give up our emotional investment in things like our belief in the ‘rightness’ of punishment.
We typically do a kind of mental ‘double-entry book-keeping’ of the mind, in which on the one side, we’re outraged about violence, when it happens to people we like and identify with. But on the other side we’re encouraged to cheer when violence happens to people we DON’T like and identify with.
Noam Chomsky puts it this way: “As a Nation, we divide the world into two categories: worthy victims, and un-worthy victims. Those we deem enemies are un-worthy victims. They deserve what they get.”
What we don’t get is that it’s not possible to do harm to another without also harming yourself in the process.
There’s a huge difference between violence and the use of protective force. But almost always the use of violence (especially institutionalized violence and organized violence) is rationalized as the ‘regrettable but unavoidable use of protective force.’ We don’t like to look closely enough at our rationalizations; that would reveal the BS in them…
That’s why the way we practically worship the military in this country deeply disturbs me. Every young person considering a military career should read (former) USMC Commandant Smedley Butler’s essay (easily found on the web): “War Is a Racket.” In it he makes a statement about what he realized at the end of his long military career: “I was a thug for Wall Street. Al Capone had nothing on me.” He saw that he’d been used to protect U.S. investments in other countries, not to ‘protect and defend Democracy.’
What was true in his day is even more true now. All that youthful idealism and wonderful energy, becomes distorted and perverted by cynical leaders who are only too happy to send YOUR sons and daughters off to traumatize and be traumatized…
Linda, I am so deeply appreciative of your insight and courage as you work so hard to bring to life the ideals contained in your blog’s mission statement. I am happy to count you as a true friend and sister…
Thank you, Sandy, for your insights and wisdom. I absolutely agree: “It’s been a long time since I’ve been surprised by school shootings (or other large-scale shootings). The only thing that surprises me about them now is that there aren’t more of them.”
The differences in physiology of men and women mean that early neglect, abuse and trauma impact changes in development differently – leaving men as the ‘societal rampagers’ while women most often commit their violence and havoc within the sphere of their home (as my mother did).
Much of this pattern has been evolutionarily dictated – with social mores reinforcing these patterns in our society today. Good ole Dr. Teicher and his research group – ‘evolutionarily altered’ does not mean as a society we are going to like what we get.
Another radish strikes again…”personality disordered”…oh my goodness!!!
Hey Sandy – borrowing from you!! Know you won’t mind. Sadly – in the case of today’s tragedy the shooter going after his mother gave the obvious connection to my early post before that news was out. It is ALWAYS the case – only this time, blatantly so.
“Linda’s blog is an AMAZING resource – she’s plowed through some of the most daunting scholarly texts to extract the most valuable nuggets of wisdom from people like: 1) Allan Schore, 2) Dan Siegel, 3) Steven Porges, and many, many more…
…and even THIS author, Silvan Tomkins, who is brilliant but notoriously difficult to read (which at least partly explains why his ground-breaking Affect Theory has gotten so little traction in the fields of psychology & psychotherapy).
Anyway, Linda is quite the persistent scholar of all things about Attachment Theory, Trauma, Neurobiology, etc. It keeps me hopping just to try to catch up to her!”
Yep..and the fact that he had a child and he was only 20!!!Oh, this reeks of rad! What happened to the mother/child relationship…was mother depressed, detached or unavailable? OHHH, neurofeedback !!