The recent mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticutt is one of the most horrific lone shooter episodes in our nation’s crime-ridden history. It has made an indelible mark on our collective consciousness. The question before us remains, are we going to let that indelible mark be the seminal spark that finally prompts us to make long overdue changes to our nation’s violent “anti-community” culture?

Don’t misunderstand my question…I am not talking about new gun laws. That is not the main solution. As I’ve argued before, I believe we need more responsible citizens carrying concealed firearms in our communities…”Good guys” that can be a major deterrent in emergency situations such as this.Those of you who think this problem can be addressed with more restrictive gun laws need a reality check: We’re WAY too far down an out of control slippery slope, meaning there are so many guns on the streets of America, we cannot control them with gun laws at this late juncture.

We cannot “put the genie back in the bottle” as it were. So in the meantime, while we work toward the change in our nation I will describe below, we need more responsible, law abiding good citizens with guns and concealed permits to be protectors in our communities,  much like in the days of the Wild West –  Responsible community citizens, trained and capable of snuffing out the pieces of garbage for human beings in growing numbers that want to perpetrate such senseless acts of murderous violence, especially against our children. As they say, “better to have a gun and not need one, than to need a gun and not have one.” (Bleeding heart liberals would be the victims needing a gun at some point and not ever having one to protect anybody with.)

In such a criminally violent, gun obsessed culture as ours in America, we do our children a horrible disservice by not equipping school staff to protect them from that sick reality. Common sense dictates in such a violent culture as ours, that school principles and some teachers must be carrying concealed firearms, or have firearms in close proximity in the absence of law enforcement officers.

(Insert effeminate, bleeding heart liberal voice of your choosing here)                 “OH MY GOD, that would just insert more horrible guns into our                        school GUN FREE ZONES!”  Really? Do those of you who think that way really approach life every day with that kind of backward, impotent logic?

The truth is, if you had a child that attended Sandy Hook Elementary, you’d never be looking at the situation that way. You would realize that had it been the case where school staff had access to firearms to protect their students, the shooter most likely would have been taken out before he could have killed so many children. As a matter of fact, it’s like a personal invitation to such cowardly lone shooters to make it as widely known as it is, that schools are ‘GUN FREE ZONES’.

GREAT! So now the only ones who will ever have guns around our children at our school “Gun Free Zones” are the criminal psychopaths.                                           Is that ‘critical thinking’ at its best?

President OBama,  in his speech to the nation Dec. 16th, declared what I’ve been saying for some time. He said, “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.”

A recent interview I heard from one of an endless stream of talking heads on this topic, pointed out that people’s reactions trying to explain the “why” to these kinds of mass shootings fall into one of three categories:

1.) The Gun

2.) The Psychology of the Shooter

3.) The Cultural Influences in our Society

This particular talking head then proceeded to make his emphasis the “psychology of the shooter”. He said he really wants to know why the 20 year old young man chose to shoot his mother in the face, and then go kill as many children as he could, etc.

Do you think any insight we get into why the shooter wanted to shoot his mom in the face and then massacre as many elementary school kids as he could with an AR-15 will cause us to have a light bulb moment?                                                          (Insert effeminate bleeding heart liberal voice of your choosing here again), “Ahh, Ok,  that makes sense…Wow, now see everybody, we just need to fix that!”

Whatever answer we find for such a question is ultimately only going to confirm what we already can OBVIOUSLY conclude from the lone shooters actions – He was psychotic.

This is no mystery, based on the behavior we’ve seen time and time again in the profile of these kinds of lone mass shooters. This 20 year old young man fit that profile of so many others before him who have done the same thing.

It is not productive to approach the question of “why did this happen” from the first two topics listed above. It isn’t because of “guns” and the need for more gun laws(Connecticut is FOURTH in the nation for tough gun laws). And it isn’t because of “mental illness” and the need for better funding of mental health programs (though better mental health funding is clearly needed in many cities).

Washington Post columnist George Will summed it up eloquently as usual in this regard. He stated unequivocally that more gun laws would be absolutely ineffective in dealing with this kind of psychotic, determined lone shooter. He reminded us that there is a specific pattern and profile of these kinds of killers.They are almost always young, socially awkward single males, who we find out every time were taking some ‘psycho-tropic’ prescription drug for anti-depression.

Many medical studies have shown that these anti-depression drugs have known side effects of violent outbursts and suicidal behavior. From what I can see, it seems to have oddly become somewhat of an accepted societal risk factor or trade-off, for the benefit of taking away the ‘highs and lows’ of these depressed individuals, and putting them on more of a numb, mid-range “flatline” of their personality.

So, in addition to asking why these shootings are happening, shouldn’t we also ask WHY SO MANY YOUNG SINGLE AWKWARD MEN ARE SO DEPRESSED in our nation that they end up being treated with these dangerous psycho-tropic anti-depressant drugs?

I consider this to be somewhat of a rhetorical question actually. Because our nation’s violence-prone, ultra-selfish and often nasty, “lack of community values” culture is ON IT’S FACE extremely depressing for anybody with a conscience.As a matter of fact, if you turn on the news every night and DON’T feel depressed to some extent, something is the matter with you!

But the point many are forgetting is, the violence reflected from this Connecticut school shooting in terms of “numbers dead” is DWARFED like the sun dwarfs the moon, in contrast with the astronomical numbers dead from NON-mentally-ill criminal violence in our cities – Sandy Hook Elementary’s lone shooter casualty numbers are dwarfed in comparison to the general murder stats of children across our nation every day! Where is the outcry about that? There isn’t any, because in our sick violent culture, we’ve gotten so numb to it until 20 get killed at one location in one day.

The proper point from which to begin asking WHY is neither of the first two listed above. To repeat, our historical national obsession with violence in America is not BECAUSE guns exist, with the solution lying in more stringent gun laws. And the solution is not best approached from the psychology of the selfish criminal.

I don’t have to have a degree in psychology to give you the readers digest version of all you need to know about the common violent criminal’s psychology: They are generally just very BAD PEOPLE who need to either be put away for good, or executed for their murderous acts. And again, the numbers of innocent victims killed DAILY as a result of their gun violence across the nation dwarfs psychotic lone shooters’ victims like Jupiter dwarfs Mars.

The answer of “why” is ONLY effectively addressed from the third topic above: The Cultural Influences of our Society.

Remember when the Columbine mass shooting happened twelve years ago? Remember how alien such a thing seemed at that time? That is because it truly WAS much more rare back then. But in lock step with the continued decline of our nation’s cultural and community values, we are seeing an increasing frequency of depressed lone mass shooters pushed over the edge. The answer is not “Jesus Saves” or “Allah be praised”…that is actually part of what is holding us back with the changes we need to make.

One of the things that makes this topic difficult is our nation’s growing diversity, and the unfortunate tendency of many to have hatred toward diversity. The more diverse a country’s population, the more varied its members’ religious beliefs. Ironically, this can exacerbate the effort to preserve moral values in society. This is because wrongly, too many people associate moral values with their religious beliefs…beliefs that hold that their’s is the only right way, and all other beliefs are “condemned” (such as fundamentalist Christianity and fundamentalist Muslims to name two we currently have to contend with fairly regularly in our society.)

The solution to our nation’s moral decline – the solution to its growing chronic violent nature, and its almost complete loss of ‘community values’, lies in understanding that  VALUES have nothing whatsoever to do with ANY ONE RELIGION.

Values have everything to do with the universal understanding of the equality of the human spirit…The ‘non-diverse’ commonly shared rule among all human diversity, that being “The Golden Rule”, that supersedes any one religion. That universally understood rule is what ‘community’ is built on. It is actually what makes community possible to exist. Its universal understanding has nothing to do with religion. Atheists are often some of the most moral people you will ever meet.(Just for the record, I am not an atheist, in case you were wondering. But “God” is not confined to any one religious belief…What is “Divine” is present in all of us.)

We have got to start having this difficult national conversation beginning with ONE question: “Why has our nation, founded on strong moral and community values, clearly LOST THEM?”

Part of the problem is definitely due to bad parenting or just the lack thereof. But that is again a result of a loss of human values overall in our society. In general, what are we constantly inundated with from the media in television, movies, music and video games?

We’ve strangely become pretty numb to a constant ugly, nasty, hateful meanspiritedness…an emphasis in the entertainment media on an unparalleled level of crime and violence growing more unparalleled every year. And along with that comes an emphasis on casual, irresponsible sexual intercourse, and the ever-present push to glorify illegal drug use for recreational purposes. I could go on and on with endless examples, but I won’t because you know how omnipresent and prevalent these themes are in rap music, movies, television, the internet, pornography, video games, etc.

Speaking of movies, I think it was one of the all too rare good movies: “As Good As It Gets”, where Helen Hunt’s character finally starts to wear down the character played by Jack Nicholson. He has a powerful line in the movie, where he says to her in a moment of conviction and self-realization, “You make me want to be a better man.”

It’s time we apply that kind of hard to face self-realization to ourselves as a nation… to the epidemic of unhealthy values and ‘populariized’ immorality in our country and communities today – We must do this not from a religious motivation, but from a human values motivation. After all, that is what our forefathers intended in their crafting of our nation’s constitution, that we be a shining example to the world of free COMMUNITIES built on shared MORAL HUMAN VALUES. And in crafting such a foundation, they went out of their way to make it clear that such shared human values that we stand for as a nation are SEPARATE from religion and the “church”.

It’s time as a nation, that we take a hard look at our LACK of community values today, and the horrible ‘role model’ our current culture sets for our young people as a result. It’s time we respond the same way as Nicholson’s character did in “As Good as it Gets”…We need to collectively say, “This makes us want to be a better nation.”

As we collectively look in the mirror in embarrassment, with this recent Connecticut school shooting serving as a kind of national “alarm clock” warning, we cannot deny the ugly and violent image looking back at us… reflected not just in occasional mass shootings like Newtown, Connecticut…but much more reflected by the daily horrific crime and immoral behavior engaged in by the non-mentally ill of our nation – Ironically, that is the image we DON’T recoil from like we recoil from an elementary school shooting.

I am referring to the astoundingly high number of daily murders, rapes, domestic violence, child abuse and molestation…the movies and television shows getting huge ratings because they glorify it…the growing levels of drug and alcohol abuse, teenage sex and pregnancies, obsession with pornography etc..

So, why are there so many depressed, awkward single white males in our society? Like I said, the answer is obvious. We have degraded into a horribly depressing, immoral culture. Forget the dangers of “The Fiscal Cliff” we’ve been hearing about nonstop of late, let’s talk about the dangers of the “Mental Cliff”… In such an unhealthy and depressing cultural reality, those who are prone to going ‘over the edge’ are going to go do so more and more…they are going to go off the much more dangerous “Mental Cliff”, as was the case again in Newtown, Connecticut. The answer is to begin HEALING and CHANGING this sick, depressing, violent culture that is growing worse every year in America.

This is the topic that is not being addressed in the “mainstream media”. President OBama is right when he declares that America needs to change…And as we work hard to change our culture back to a more moral one, it will require a major change within mainstream media. But guess what? The reason you aren’t hearing this important topic in mainstream media, is that mainstream media DOESN’T WANT that change.

It is part of the very problem that has been fueling the decline of our nation’s values. Immorally, and I would argue UNPATRIOTICALLY, it sees it’s current “dirty laundry”, INFOTAINMENT model as very productive money making machine. That is all the current  mainstream media cares about.

That’s why you saw reporters trying desperately to get impromptu video shots of parents who just found out their kids were killed, or who went around trying to get interviews with those who just came out of the school asking them, “So how do you feel? What was it like to see that violence?” etc…In a MORAL society, there’s obviously NO EXCUSE for such exploitation of victims in such a vulnerable moment. But they were doing that, with wall to wall coverage, because in our current diseased American culture, IT SELLS!

They were making those victims a spectacle for entertainment, to keep your eyes on their channel, all for the purpose of selling the horror, so you remain glued to the set, watching their commercials. That is the only motivation of our nation’s current “media”. It is motivated by money, and doesn’t give a rats ass about moral values, though it loves to PRETEND that it does.

But those with moral values know that the most important things in life have nothing to do with money and profit. Money is not in itself bad, and it is very nice to have money – no argument there… But the American media’s greed for money at the expense of community and human values is an example of one of the major things we must change about our current culture. That is a big part of what we as Americans have to realize, when we look at our society’s reflection in the mirror today and say, “This makes us want to be a better nation”.

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About Connie Bryan

Writer, comedian and musician, currently residing in Sacramento, CA. Former talk radio personality from Central Florida. Currently doing stand-up comedy and producing/hosting a local TV comedy/variety show on Access Sacramento Channel 17. Please see demo material on my website at www.conniebryan.com.

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