Call it Like it Is

March 10, 2001

By J. Michael

The questions continue to be raised, as month after month, week after week, we continue to see rampage shootings. At work, at school, at church and even day care. The country continues to grieve, amidst asking “why”.

I’ve written in the past some of the answers and some possible solutions. There is no quick fix, nor are there any set rules that resolve the problem. But there are some guidelines, which few seem to follow. You see, our people insist on looking at the tragedy and then refuse to place blame or actually dig for a problem. They look at the end result as the actual problem. The country is in denial and refuses to call it like it is.

Every time another “shoot-up” occurs, you hear the media, the witnesses, and the politicians all refer to it as another “Columbine”. Last I checked, Columbine was the name of a town and a high school, not a synonym for massacre. These unacceptable acts of hideous mass murders are school massacres, church massacres and work massacres. Say the word, it’s gruesome, unpleasant and even makes you feel icky. No wonder people insist on referring to these devastating crimes as another “Columbine”. It’s much more pleasant of a word. After all, it helps take our focus off justice and outrage, and forces us to simply think “the poor victims”…”the poor kids”. We are afraid to call it like it is.

Of course I feel bad for the victims in each one of these shootings. They deserve our sympathy and comfort. But can you honestly think for a moment that any parent who lost a child in the actual Columbine shooting feels any better when we continue to refer all massacres as “Columbines”? What an insult when we refuse to call it like it is.

What gets me even more, is the fact that everyone feels sorry for everyone else. These cold-blooded killers all have problems, therefore we are expected to excuse their behavior and understand their attempt at a cry for help. Let’s think about this one for ¾ of a second. If you step on my bare foot and hurt my toe, shall I just go ahead and knock a few of your teeth loose? Yea, it will get your attention, but that’s hardly a reasonable or acceptable way to let you know that you are on my toe. Murder isn’t a cry for help. I don’t doubt that some of these people have psychological problems. But it’s one thing to cry for help, it’s another thing to devastate your community and then ask for a pity party. These people are murderers, not desperate seekers of help. Call it like it is.

You do the crime, you do the time. We are all responsible for our actions. But our sorry excuse for a society has taken that responsibility off each of us. We are afraid to hold someone accountable, because it might hurt his or her feelings. We are so focused on keeping everyone in the mainstream, that we risk innocent lives just to spare the feelings of an evildoer. We all face our own trials and tribulations in life; these difficulties are not some sort of certificate for stupidity or irrational behavior. Nor should they persuade the rest of us to ignore such unacceptable actions, rather than call it like it is.

The bottom line is that we’ll never see an end to a problem such as school massacres as long as we don’t address the problem itself. If we continue to sugarcoat what is really happening, and then not hold these people responsible for their actions, this will continue and only grow worse. These young kids see that everyone will feel sorry for them and that it’s a sure way to gain exposure to their own problems and have people dote on them. They see that nobody will call it like it is.

Let people know that if they have a problem and need help, that they can turn to you, or that you will help them find someone who can help counsel them. Unfortunately, we continue to give the message that we’ll tolerate horrendous actions if we can just call it a cry for help, instead of calling it like it is.

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