If you've been following me for a bit, you probably know I've been pondering mass shootings for a while. A long while actually.
I've also been exploring how to be a better friend, neighbor, and partner for a while also.
I personally am a bit of an activist. I vote and am passionate about trying to get politics to work for the betterment of society, but am still very skeptical on if it can make big and positive changes. At least when it comes to serving the oppressed and those in real need – think poverty and the homeless for example. We seem to do very little in my eyes.
In all honesty, the mass shooting thing is partly why I started the Hellagood Life brand. I’ve studied, debated, and thought about this problem for at least a decade. I’ve explored so many different ideas as ways to minimize and end this problem.
Now, I have Two Ideas Colliding…
Wanting to minimize shootings and thoughts on being a better friend.
Today, I’ll share a new thought that I never really explored too deeply. I have not explored these two ideas together anyhow.
A few days ago a friend posted a meme that got my attention and helped me re-ask the question about what it might really take. Then through some life experiences I was currently living, two ideas collided like the ’70s Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup ad – “hey you got your chocolate in my peanut butter.” “hey, you got your peanut butter on my chocolate.”
And the rest as they say was history. Could this idea be as revolutionary as Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Well, we will see. Here are my thoughts from the other day from a Facebook post I did, edited, and added to my thoughts to flow better and give deeper insight as an article.
Depending upon your age, you may or may not recall this ad that is still something that I can go back to as it played a lot as I was watching TV back in the day.
Now let’s get back to it…
It was May 24th, 2022, at Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde, Texas.
So sadly another school shooting happened that made national news, but was from TX. This was roughly a week after a racist mass shooting happened in Buffalo, NY killing 10 supermarket shoppers. The Buffalo one was intended as a racial cleansing of sorts by a white supremacist driving to this neighborhood with intent to kill black folks.
The Uvalde shooting done by an 18-year old still in school and going to Robb Elementary to kill. It is said he used an AR-15 type rifle. The AP says he fired more than 100 rounds in two adjoining classrooms and mowed down 19 children (4th graders I think) and 2 teachers.
My thoughts 2 Weeks After This Awful mass shooting Event
As I age, I find a deeper love for humanity. Seeing mass shootings breaks my heart and scares me at how reckless we are with life.
I saw a post this morning that said something about if Millennials would vote, we could change things related to this mass shooting issue prominent in the United States. I think it was meant to let people know these Millennials have a lot of power and are coming into it wanting to make positive change.
In honesty, I was a bit triggered as I’ve been leaning on voting for roughly 30 years and in my honest opinion votes do very little except get one side or the other in office. It seems as though very little changes though, no matter who’s in office (in my opinion).
Keep in mind though although I feel the system is rigged or at least corrupted, it is the system we have to work with. So, yes, we should still vote, but not expect votes alone to change things as big as mass shootings.
As I read this meme, it got me to thinking… “what WOULD change things?”
I feel I’ve been asking this question a lot over the last 6-10 years.
Then I thought of my own experience in the last week.
Sadly some business friends and I went abruptly in different ways.
I can only speak to my own views, but I think a lot of the split was due to some basic misunderstandings maybe some previous traumas or previous experiences. Sadly we are all in the healing psychology space which makes it even weirder. I feel it could have been cleared up easily, as we were all friends, and had a lot in common but only a few differences.
This is only my perspective.
There could be much more at play here and maybe I was too blind to see the real harm being experienced or the misalignment of values.
In the process of trying to salvage things, it got pretty hairy. I may have inflicted real harm trying to find a mutual win-win. I can only reflect, try to learn, and try to do better next time.
In what may have been quick decisions… we decided to walk away, call things a day, and decide to not work together or be friends any longer.
I think the missed opportunities and the friendships were a lot to throw away and a bigger long term loss, than what felt like short term frustrations (from my side but I believe it could be true for the others as well).
However we walked.
We shut the door and moved on.
A week to the day I am still reflecting on what I could have done better and how I could have been a better friend and business support partner.
Enter Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs - I ponder this concept a lot
Now being a firm believer that “all people”, mostly want the same things (think Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). They want a body/mind that function well, safety, security, a nice home, a decent job/business, a way to feel worthy and live with purpose, friends, family, loved ones.
And then as the main needs are met, they move towards a way to self-actualize (maybe the last one is not common in all people, but everything else is. Maybe that is because previous needs are not being met. Who knows.).
It seems I may have NOT provided enough safety, enough friendship or sense of connection, or maybe enough respect or recognition in my accountability group. Who knows.
I only use this as an example because it is fresh and like Reeses these ideas just collided.
Could I have done better? I am not sure, but after engagement made things worse, I backed-off. Well, after things really blew up because I was pushing reconciliation.
My point from the collision of these two ideas is this…
Are we too quick to throw away people or undervalue relationships?
Have we created a throw-away society that doesn’t value community and life?
Why do shooters shoot up places?
Is it partly a suicide attempt? They have nothing left to live for and they will off themselves or hope to force cops to do so? Undervalue of their own life?
Is it partly a power play to flex muscles? Oh, look at me and how bad ass I am. Look at this awesome gun I got and check out how many people I am able to scare, hurt, and kill. Undervalue of other lives.
Is it a media grab for fame? Hey look at me, I made the news and everyone is talking about me on social media. Too much emphases on fame and power as ways to find self-worth.
My thoughts on… Maybe -
Why Mass Shooters Shoot Up Places…
I may never know the real reason, however, I think it steams from lack of connection, lack of belonging, lack of love, lack of purpose of life, lack of self-worth, lack of deep connections with other humans, lack of career/financial opportunities, maybe abuse or neglect or bullying then become the catalyst for a rampage.
Matthew McConaughey's Challenge For Us…
Could Connecting these two colliding ideas, actually work?
Matthew McConaughey, who grew up in Uvalde, TX, asks – where our priorities are? This seems like a power idea to reflect on.
The comparison has been made many times that guns are of more value to us than people’s lives. For years, decades maybe. Now McConaughey is asking publicly.
For me, connecting these two things makes me think if we really want change?
Each one of us needs to get better at connecting with people, being better friends, forgiving/apologizing, supporting, lifting people up, helping one another.
No easy task and as I shared, even when we try to salvage things our connect deeply and serve or lift people up, some will not get it or want it. So we must just do our best.
If we valued connections more, if we had deeper self-love and love of other people (even those different or difficult) and we had a passion for connecting deeply, and a commitment to working through tough times, then I think we’d see less shootings.
Another important connection to Understanding our culture
A week or two ago, a friend asked me the difference between the Buddhist’s and Christian’s beliefs on guns. Honestly, I think it is not so much a religious thing per se, but more likely a cultural thing.
The US is an ULTRA Individualistic society, meaning we are focused on ME winning over every other person. In my opinion, this is why we are so divisive in politics, the pandemic, race relations, and so many other things, including guns and mass shootings.
A Collectivistic culture is the flip side of Individualism in that the main goal is doing what is best for the group above just yourself.
So for example an Individualistic mindset would look like this…
“I want no gun laws as that restricts my freedoms!” – even though as a whole this harms communities of people.
Honestly, most of society including many gun owners would prefer stricter laws and background checks, but a small fraction of politicians, lobbyists, and the like, who are in charge only focus on themselves or a their people.
The same is true in other areas as well – poverty, elections, business/school/home loans, healthcare, race, etc.
I can’t tell you the number of people I wrote off over the years in my own world. So I am guilty, however I’m starting to change (or at least work) on this a bit.
Anyhow, Matthew’s question is a good one –
what do we value most?
people and connections are most important.
Could being better neighbors and friends move the needle?
What about being better parents and partners?
There are rumors we have a 50% divorce rate. Why? Are these things due to the basis of Individualistic cultural thinking? Is it inability to master coping skills, forgiveness skills, or something else? Is it financial, is it our struggles with self-love or self-worth? Is it that it’s just easier to throw people away than do the hard work?
I don’t know but are there any keys we can find here?
Could this relatively simple thing (appreciating connections and valuing people) be even more effective than stricter gun laws and voting to change things to minimize mass shootings?
I’m not saying this is an easy transition.
My deep respect for other people only came after my world crumbled and on my journey to rebuild a new healthier life. I did value people, but not nearly as deeply as I do now.
I think this idea may be something to look into.
Nothing bad can come from building stronger relationships, families, friendships, and connections with neighbors. So should we give it a try?
That sounds like a hell of a win though.
What are your thoughts? Am I bat-shit crazy, or on to something?
I want everyday citizens to feel in control of this out of control situation. I think maybe being better friends or more deeply connected to others might make a real difference and this IS. SOMETHING. WE. CAN. DO. NOW. without fighting over politics.
Please share your thoughts in the comments sharing your opinions on this topic.
Could Reading Help?
Here are a few books I was thinking about based on being a better friend, partner, neighbor, etc. If you have some other ones, please share in the comments and I will add them to the list, but I’d love to have some with solid recommendations.
Books I’ve Read and Recommend: I’ve read these and they could truly help.
Books I have NOT Read yet, but would like to: In my research on this topic, these seem like books I’d want to add to my exploration of how to be a better friend and create deeper connections.
If you’ve read any of these and have reviews, let me know. Also, again if you have any recommendations, please share in the comments below.
Other Mass Shooting Resources…
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