Terrorists I get but this…

I woke up this morning to read the horrific headlines about the shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut. Here’s what I can’t rap my head around. It isn’t guns or the availability of guns that is an issue, though many people mistakenly want to blame the means rather than addressing the underlying problem. I mean, we’ve got guns and access to guns here in far more abundance than in the U.S. Board any bus and you’ll see at least a few high powered weapons being toted by our young soldiers, not for protection of the bus or as any form of security, but simply because they have to tote their weapons along even if just taking the bus to the mall, or home, or wherever else they may be traveling. If you live in one of our border communities, chances are you have a concealed-carry and if you don’t, you are just plain stupid.

I understand terrorists insomuch as anyone can understand them. They have an us and them philosophy. Their minds have been sickened and manipulated to such as extent that they can view killing innocent civilians of those on ‘the other side’ as some sort of military victory, a high five for their side. Albeit with horror, I can grasp the concept of a terrorist targeting families, babies, school-children because they know that that is what hurts their enemy a thousand times worse than targeting soldiers and military installations.

What I cannot understand, what I cannot even begin to grasp, are those who target children, families, simply random people, within their own society. Despite the ready access to weapons here, it is not something our society experiences. If you hear of a lunatic on a gun rampage here, you can be 99.9% sure that it is a terrorist and not a civilian gone round the bend. It just doesn’t happen here.

I grew up in the U.S. but I still don’t understand the intra-societal violence that is so prevalent there or why it is so prevalent. I live in what folks in the U.S. would designate, not inappropriately, as a war-zone and yet I still feel safer on a day to day basis than I did living in the U.S. In point of fact, I am safer here in this war-zone.

By the time I was 18, and growing up in a “nice” middle-class, average neighbourhood, I’d had 5 classmates murdered — some by strangers, some by neighbours, one by a family member. I’d been beaten to a bloody pulp in a kidnapping attempt that, had it gone off as the kidnappers intended would have ended in my rape and murder — that had been the fate of the 12 year old they were suspected of abducting a few blocks away only days before. They were never caught and I don’t doubt that they’ve racked up more victims. My little brother had been held at gunpoint and robbed. The police found the burned out remains of the car of my brother’s close friend but they’ve never found Candy’s body. She’s still “missing” more than twenty years on. We’d had a wanna-be serial killer trying to get into our house and the house of our neighbours. He was a neighbour.

It isn’t guns or access to guns that causes these “senseless” crimes. It is something deeper, something that has eaten away at the core of a society and continues to go unaddressed. In the U.S. the enemy within is as great as the enemy without.

I live in a war-zone but I know who my enemies are and they are not my neighbours.


26 responses to “Terrorists I get but this…”

  1. TDDPirate says :

    For some statistical perspective: how many students were there in your class (of which 5 classmates were murdered)?

    • Lynne says :

      It was more than five friends and acquaintances, Yaeli. I bet you did not count the kids who were killed when they moved away in a home invasion, or Mike Posey who was stabbed to death in front of a hospital. Did you count Laura who was murdered by the teenager who was her neighbor (whose sister you went to school with?). Did you count Dr. Guy’s son who was murdered on the school grounds of your former elementary school? Robberies and assaults too numerous to count. It was more than five.

      • israeliminx says :

        Ema no, I was only counting the kids who were VERY close personal friends, who we had over for mutual birthday parties and slumber parties, who I sat with at lunch and who partnered with me in games at recess. I wasn’t counting anyone, child or adult, who was outside our immediate and close social circle. But yeah, I should maybe count Dr. Guy’s son too — Dr. Guy was my pediatrician for something like 13 years — and I didn’t know Laura more than to speak to (we attended the same summer day camp but were assigned to different groups and she was a year ahead) but I knew both her sister — and the sister of her killer– quite well. Didn’t count Mike because he was killed when I was 19 and didn’t count Ryan who was killed that same year when he tried to chase down the guys who’d stolen his girlfriends purse outside a restaurant and got both shot in the face and stabbed in the heart right there on St. Charles Avenue with dozens of people around.

      • TDDPirate says :

        Yaeli, wow, I never imagined you as someone who has lived in such a high crime area.

        • israeliminx says :

          Pirate, I grew up in the murder capital of the U.S. We used to have a nightly body count reported on the news before they got a clue that it was bad for the tourist industry.

        • Lynne says :

          And, don’t picture the “urban poor areas” (those are so horrible that they look like war zones), because we were in the nice areas. Just picture New Orleans. After the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, some tourists from New Orleans who were vacationing in Mumbai were interviewed. They said basically, “We are from New Orleans, so at first when we heard all the gunshots, we didn’t think too much about it…” Yes. New Orleans. Tourists can often go there without problems, and people can live there and survive, but almost everyone who lives there has a list of incidents and knows first-hand of many violent attacks, robberies, and murders. New Orleans is different after Hurricane Katrina, but from what I hear, it has not improved. At one time, I loved New Orleans, but I am not tempted to return in spite of some of the attractions and the history. I was there a few years ago, and the entire time I was there I felt an oppressive, surreal (bizarre) environment—not a healthy one, not like any other place that I have ever been. Awful, really.

  2. Lynne says :

    There are laws in the US but no justice, and since around 1990 in the US, dangerous, crazy people are seldom held for evaluation. Part of that problem is the laws regarding that and part of that is the fact that many psychiatrists are incompetent, as in the case of the psychiatrist who was treating the Colorado movie theater murderer who knew he as sick, had specifically threatened to do what he did, and did nothing about it “because he withdrew from the university”. Families, friends, and people in general in the US do not seem to know or heed the warning signs of disturbed and dangerous people, and there may be very little that they can do about it anyway. The mental health system in the US is totally failed and worthless. The liberal media is much to blame, too, trying to politicize these tragedies. It’s not guns that create the crimes; it’s people, and many murderers use other means to kill their victims, though in a case like the elementary school tragedy, the efficiency of guns to kill increased the number of victims and in a short time. Still, it was guns in the hands of a crazy man, and not guns alone that are the problem.
    Something is seriously wrong with society in the US. We have the illusion of help in the form of laws, a mental health system, a child protection system,and countless government bureaucracies. These are worthless.
    The entertainment business and the media contribute to the problems, and do not alleviate them. It’s a serious problem here.
    Courtney Thomas, one of the excellent school principals that I worked with, was insistent that the exterior doors be locked, that the staff be vigilant, and that precautions be taken to protect the students. After all, as she pointed out, children are vulnerable and are assembled in large numbers in schools, with most of the teachers being female, and everyone absorbed in daily activities—the perfect target for a mentally deranged person intent on murder. She had difficulty enforcing her standards, as many of the teachers did not take the threat seriously. It is serious, and these tragedies are becoming more common.

  3. WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

    This young teenager who killed around 18 children, he also even killed his mother!! Do not try to understand such a mad, irrational behavior!!

    When the mind of someone allows him to kill his own mother, you know that such a mind is very disturbed to say the least!!

    One issue is the fact that the parents had guns at home and that facilitated a lot the task of this young teenager to find guns to commit his murders. The question is therefore: is it safe to store guns at home when you have children? Despite the fact that they might save them from an unexpected attack from intruders.

    • Lynne says :

      Wipe Out, you make excellent points in your comment. I read that the mother of the killer often took her sons to target practice in the past, and she was said to “love guns”. Ok. She must have known that her son was somewhat unusual (to say the least) and odd…. and some say showed signs of perhaps autism or Asperger’s or a “personality disorder”—all good reasons to keep any guns under lock and key. Perhaps some other activity would have been more healthy and age-appropriate for her kids, considering. She is not the one who murdered the children, but she is responsible for the home environment and for keep her guns secure. On the face of it, it seems like a financially stable family with some very significant inter-family issues. She was said to be “rigid” and the son had some major issues (known before and certainly confirmed by his murderous act)…. not a healthy family from what has been reported so far. I agree; this was the act of a madman because there can be no rational motive for him or anyone to shoot down innocent people. That goes for terrorists as well, who claim political motives. It’s evil and nuts.
      I don’t have a problem with guns per se. Guns must be stored securely under lock and key. Families should try to keep them out of the hands of those who are unbalanced. I read that this guy tried to buy a gun earlier this week, but was denied. I guess the reason for that will come out. Crazy people will find some other ways of harming others when they cannot get guns. I’ve read of similar attacks recently in China, against children. In the news now is an attack against 22 children in China by a deranged man. When Yaeli was little, a man ran his car onto the sidewalk killing the children playing there. There are madmen among us, and it appears worse in some places than in others.

      • israeliminx says :

        And my 10th grade history teacher ran down and killed like 12 people on Bourbon st …

        • Lynne says :

          Yaeli, I had forgotten about that maniac. In the attacks in China recently and in the past, knives were the weapons used. I hate that the mainstream media and some of the politicians are blaming “guns”—instead of looking at our justice system, our mental health system, the violence in the entertainment industry…. the need for providing education about mental illness and the means to obtain help when needed…those issues should be the focus.

  4. 300yrs in America says :

    The mentally deranged and criminally insane have been unleashed on society.They are sent to psychologists instead of psychiatrists who are M.D.s.Why the court syst.went with psychology i will never understand.It is almost impossible to have the mentally deranged or truelly insane taken off the streets.I worked @ a mental institution as a young man.The patients seemed so ordinary and kind,yet i saw those same people become violent and dangerous in the blink of an eye.Dont try to understand because we have no idea whats going on in their minds.There isnt any explanation for the tradgedy in Conn.The perp was insane as the other mass murderers are/were.Stalin who murdered @ least 50million is considered a hero by alot of people as is mao che arafat etal.There are stories of armed teachers stopping similar attacks.My prayers are with the families.I dont get why the perp would shoot babies but we live in a culture of vengence and get even with em.The days of loving your neighbor are gone. Its confusing and sad.

  5. XSouthAfricanGal says :

    What about how easy it is to enter a school \kindergarden in the US?
    where is the security Guard?

    In Israel every school has an armed Guard . Gates are locked and only the Guard has the key. Only stuff or someone with an appointment can enter.

    you give your details to the Guard and he checks you out before he unlocks the gate.

    Perhaps it would not have prevented this dissaster but would have made it more difficult for him to do this .
    Even it it turns the schools into Fort Knox (I thing every parent would opt for Fort Knox then this Catastrophy ).

    • Lynne says :

      XSouthAfricanGal, I talked to a teacher friend yesterday about the tragedy, and of course the topic of safety at the schools where we worked (and where she currently works). The Obama Admin./Homeland Security quietly eliminated funds for school safety in 2009. The training that was lost through cuts really was not that valuable, but significantly, the cuts eliminated many guard positions in all but high risk schools. It eliminated funding for safety improvements at the schools (better locks, better designs, alarms, etc.). The teachers themselves are creating a potentially dangerous situation when they prop open doors meant to be locked for their convenience as they get items from their car or go out of the school for a moment. It seems so safe and calm that I know that many teachers think that it’s ok to do, but it only takes a moment for that to change. The principal at my friend’s school has created a very unsafe situation with open classrooms, so that in an emergency, the teachers and children cannot successfully lock themselves in their classrooms. A short-sighted decision, but I think that danger must have seemed far away.
      From what I understand, the killer broke windows by the front door to gain entry to the Conn. school. Schools are just not safe enough. I wonder if Obama will reinstate those funds for nationwide school safety?

  6. philipzhao says :

    These things will continue to happen so long as America keeps turning away from God !

  7. israeliminx says :

    Xsag – very good point. Given how many school shootings and attempted shootings there have been as well as the threat of terrorists, you’d think that from kindergartens up through university, there’d be secure entrances you have to go through with an armed guard and no one else allowed to bring in weapons of any kind (e.g. pass through a metal detector). It really freaked me out when I was on the university campus in North Carolina — I was like crikey anyone can just waltz right on in from a gazillion entry points and no security anywhere in sight. I was like dude, get some FENCES.

  8. XSouthAfricanGal says :

    Here where I live (In the Sharon area)
    Every school\ kindergarden college has an armed gauerd which stopes you at the entrance and askes you questions.. checks your bag ect..

    will not prevent it 100% but make it more difficult to do

  9. Larry007 says :

    My son’s kindergarten is surrounded by a massive iron fence and the gate is locked and guarded by an armed security person. The kindergarten has a steel door which is norm in Israel, without an exterior knob.

    On top of everything, inside the kindergarten, they have a bomb shelter room with a very very massive steel door which can be locked from inside and no windows. The outside security perimeter buys enough time for the personnel to gather the children inside the shelter and wait for the police.

    I’m not saying it is perfect but it makes things much difficult for an potential wrongdoer . The parents are paying extra for the armed guard, but we think it’s worth it.

    • XSouthAfricanGal says :

      Larry are you from the border area? (Sderot) or North (Kiryat shmona).. Where I live (in the Sharon area) the security isn’t that extreme .

      Mostly the precautions are againt terrorist attacks not Mass killings or hostage situations. But from what I gather in the US the schools and public areas are completely open .. That IMHP needs to change!

  10. israeliminx says :

    Xsag — what Larry describes seems pretty typical here in the center to me. There was a similar set up at both the high school and elementary school that were on my street in Tel Aviv and all the schoolsin my area here in Bnei Brak have the heavy duty fencing and armed guards –I’m assuming also shelters inside.

  11. Lynne says :

    Re: Schools in the US
    Chances are that nothing is going to happen to the majority of school children in a school setting in the US, but there is that possibility—and I like to prepare for possibilities. I believe that the entrances to schools and the school yards need to be secure and they are not. What about when the kids are on the play ground at recess? Many or even most US schools do not even have fences of the most flimsy kind. A madman would not have to get inside to attack children and staff at a school. The vast majority of schools do not have a security guard, and many are just too open without the means for the children to take shelter. It is the teachers and parents themselves who are too complacent. When the memory (the public has a short memory) of this tragedy has faded, people will no longer be concerned about school safety, unfortunately, and as a matter of fact, it was the Obama Administration that cut funding for security in American schools. It was quietly done, no one noticed, the schools did not complain… The stupid, stupid media is focusing, as usual, on all the wrong things like guns, as if guns just shoot off on their own without human intervention. They might want to look at mental health issues, and the laws that allow incompetent psychiatrist like the one in Colorado who did not pursue the Batman movie killer to ignore threats, or mental health in America, or the entertainment industry’s use of violence as a detriment to mental health, or the effects of violent video games on those who are unbalanced or impressionable. . . and even the way that this tragedy is being covered, which in itself is not the best way to do that.
    And because no one can control all the insane people under radar, safety in public areas, and most definitely places where people are vulnerable like hospitals, schools, malls, and the like.

  12. Arlene says :

    I don’t know why they DON’T say that the U.S. is a series of war zones. It sure feels like one some days.

    Thanks for the great blog. A friend led me to it a few weeks ago and I’ve really enjoyed your posts.

    Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful 2013.

    I thought you’d enjoy the following 30 second video. It asks for world peace by way of tweeting to get the message across. It made me smile. It’s titled ‘Peace’.

    Take care and thanks again,

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