Aside from the profound sadness when any of these types of killings occur I do applaud the efforts of young people to try to have their voices heard. Even the disturbed young man in Isla Vista was trying in his own way to get his message out to someone. His message of deeply intense pain, isolation, abandonment and more is felt by thousands and thousands of teens everyday. Thankfully, only a very small number act-out violently.
I am not writing today about the political aspects of gun control, mental health funding and more, although I do believe as a society we rush toward quick fixes for what I believe are extremely complex issues. And, although I am in the mental health profession to provide help I am also a realist and know we will never be able to help all the desperate young people and some will perish. It is part of the natural process of attempting to re-balance ourselves after such troubling events that we make efforts to delude ourselves that we can somehow prevent such things from happening again. If we don’t make “repair” efforts then we will be too terrified to leave our homes. Such efforts need, however, to be thoughtful and based upon research rather than for political gain.
Back to writing about the impetus for this article. Young people who are extremely troubled in recent years have taken to mass murder seem to catch our attention in dramatic headlines. However, the ones who need to be heard are the others, like those thwarted by their high school paper; did not give-up and who went to the New York Times instead! There are good kids, teens all around. Especially this time of year when kids and teens are finishing yet another academic year we all need to look around and be thankful for the vast majority who make it. They are not all stars but most do star quality things at times. Many of these kids struggle either inwardly or outward. Whether it is pimples or purpose of life they have angst. It is up to each of us to acknowledge each of them, listen as best as we can, and be curious about what they are thinking and dreaming about! Teens are our very near future so we need to treat them well…they will be responsible for running the world very soon!