So yet again we have another school shooting.
What can we say that hasn’t been said before. I could post again about tips and tactics to be used during an active shooter scenario. Hide, barricade, fight. Heck, learning disarming moves and practice them. Trying to surprise the shooter around a corner or when going through a doorway. All last resort, desperate moves when facing an insane armed attacker while being unarmed yourself.
At the end of the day there’s nothing a kid can do if while focusing on algebra someone opens a door, point an AR15 to his face and pulls the trigger.
So I thought this time we could do something different and ask ourselves, why? Why do these things happen? And no, this isn’t Liberal Survivalist, we know it’s not the guns.
America has had modern guns for a number of years and yet you didn’t have kids stealing dad’s Thompson submachine gun and rain .45 slugs down the cafeteria. Mass shootings have happened before in America, but never with the frequency and viciousness we’ve seen in the last few decades. Other countries have more than enough guns and these things don’t happen, or at least don’t happen often. They are rare, once in a decade kind of event. There’s plenty of South American hell holes flooded with illegal guns, machineguns and grenades and they STILL don’t have these problems.
So if it’s not guns, then what is it?
So what’s the difference between America and other somewhat similar developed countries with a high number of guns per capita? What’s the difference between America today and America from a few years back when kids kept their gun in their truck and went hunting after school without ever worrying about some lunatic opening fire.
Mental illness would be one of the things you think of first, and there certainly is something very much wrong in a mass murderer’s head. The healthcare situation in America is certainly fragile, especially mong poor so there’s something there for sure.
Also, we look at the families of these kids, or even the adults. They are dysfunctional, messed up families. Divorced, missing a parent, abused children. There’s always something wrong, even if in some cases you have to scratch the surface a bit to find that the picture perfect wasn’t quite so.
But you know what, there’s plenty of messed up families in other countries and they have guns and these things still don’t happen (as in not happen with the frequency seen in US).
I think we have to go even deeper and here is where the case of Latin America helps clear things up. There’s guns in Latin America, more than enough for anyone that wants to get one. There’s millions of illegal guns, meaning its even easier for criminals or unstable people that just want to get hold of one. In fact I remember well that in Argentina kids from poor neighbourhoods would often carry guns and knives to school. Every now and then there would be an accident, someone wounded, but it was always due to negligent handling of the gun (showing it to a friend, accidentally firing it).It just doesn’t happen with any given frequency that a kid goes nuts and starts shooting down fellow students, even when hundreds or more of them pack heat to school! But if Latin America has guns (mostly illegal ones) and has its fair share of broken families, then what is it, what’s different?
I think that the problem is within the family, as often seen in these mass shootings, but also within society itself. The family is the building block of society, when that starts failing everything else falls apart. When you have broken families you have a hard time building a healthy society. But there’s a point where broken or dysfunctional families becomes the norm, when society itself doesn’t care anymore. Then that’s when you have this kind of large scale social problems. Even with families where parents aren’t divorced you have too many people that are cold, distant, dysfunctional parenting and simply don’t give a damn.
For all my criticism to Argentina and Latin American countries in general, and by God I doubt many people have been as critical as I’ve been about them, I do admit that family and friendship are still very much important. In Latin America, family and friends MATTER. It’s not ok, it’s not normal not to have family or friends. I’ll give you an example, which I suppose is hard for my American friends to understand:
American Joe and Marry have two kids. They are divorced, they both work. The extended family? May as well not exist. The kids are excess baggage and no one spends much time with them and they may end up shooting a school one day.
Latin America Maria and Jose are divorced too. They also have two kids, work and spend a lot of time away from home… but they do make time for the kids when around and don’t escape being with them. They spend weekends with them. The extended family, grandparents, uncles, cousins, they are all very much involved with one another. Even if Jose becomes a violent drunk, a terrible parent, but someone in the family will care for the kids. Maybe an uncle or grandparent but within the fabric of society itself it is understood that family, friends, people in general, matter.
I think that’s what’s been lost lately in American society. And I think it wasn’t always like that, that at some point for some reason, the idea of not only family, but of relationships with people in general just wasn’t important any more. Maybe it has something to do with excessive mass consumption, with more “stuff” mattering more than human relationships. Maybe it’s that instant gratification “fix”, the idea of you and you alone being the most important person in the world and the one that matters the most because you’re a super special one of a kind snowflake and what you want must always come first. In Latin America culture it is understood that while you’re special and unique as well, it is still very much important that you are part of something else. Either your family, your group of friends or even your neighbourhood. But you are part of something bigger than you at a social level.
This kid in Florida that killed 17 people, Nikolas Cruz, he’s a 19 year old kid that lost both parents, lost his dad when he was 6 and his mother tried to give him away to their neighbours. They didn’t want him either. He was held back in school twice, with obvious mental problems.
This 19 year old didn’t just turn into a mass shooter from one day to the next. There was something very much wrong with him when he was 15. There was something wrong with him when he was 10 too. You don’t just wake up one day and do something like this. You have to be VERY disturbed, for a VERY long time. This kid grew up knowing he was scum, that he had nothing and no one wanted him. There was no uncle, no grandparent, not even a neighbour or a distant family member or friend that took him under their wing while he still had a chance to become something else other than the monster he is today.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”