Community: The Antidote to Violence

Illaria Dana, Education Major

People hurt each other. It is what we do. There is a continuum of severity and intent to this pain.

From gossip and breakups to the legal or tragic, no one makes it through life unharmed, without

encountering loss. This loss can cause people to wonder what if, to believe their pain was preventable,

and to, hopefully, accept what has happened to them and broaden their sense of self.

As we mature, accountability becomes important. Our actions, and how these actions affect

others, define who we are. According to the Gun Policy website, the number of legal and illegal guns

owned by citizens is 270,000,000 compared to 310,000,000 citizens. There have been 152 school

shootings in the United States since 2013. The math averages to about one school shooting per week.

There have been 45 school shootings in the U.S. this year alone.

This phenomenon is distinct- school shootings in the United States vastly outnumber those in other

countries. School shootings have become part of our cultural identity. Is this something we are willing to

live with? Are we going to ask ourselves why?

The threshold we have crossed is one that reveres violence. Our media sensationalizes mass shootings

and their perpetrators. We have defined our grief in vigils for the dead. Through mourning, we are bound

together.

But why does it take such loss of life to gain community? Psychologists try to profile shooters with

mental illness. It is abnormal to kill others for no reason, however, it is becoming more normal. A

common factor shooters have is isolation, not abuse or mental illness. As Maine closes its detox centers

and limits funding for school, the shame and burden of isolation and disease increases. At a time when

community is most necessary, we need to put our money where our values rest. It is time to heal, not

through fads, materialism, and other quick fixes, but through the longevity found in supportive,

communal structures.

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