Several issues need attention to end mass shootings

When we examine the events of the last few weeks in our country, we can look at the confluence of several factors. The gunmen were young (18 years old). This is the first factor, youth with an undeveloped executive function part of the brain which leads to impulsive decisions with poor consequences.

As an educator for 33 years, a quote hung in my office, “The kids who need love the most, ask for it in the most unloving ways.” We tend to ignore the kids and their “unloving ways,” but we need to reach them at early stages.

The second factor is video games. Several of my students were mesmerized by first-person shooter games where they held the power to “take out” the “enemy” through shooting or other violent means. It seems that these games had the dual effect of allowing them to feel in control and desensitizing them to the fact that people were dying.

The third factor is the access to guns in real life that enable them to act out their anger.

The solution is not a quick fix. It takes training and time to teach our youth how to handle emotions such as anger in a constructive way. It takes monitoring video game use for some kids and limiting access to real guns before their brains can handle the decisions those require. We need to value our youth by putting our time and money into efforts that show we care.

Meg McClure


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