I’ve said it before in regards to the San Bernadino shooting, as soon as the news stories started to come out that he was abusive to the wife that he later killed… there is a link here that we need to be paying attention to. I had the horrible realization that I personally related to what I read in those stories. I could see the links and connections. I could imagine my own story of domestic violence going in that horrible direction.
I’m sitting here now reading news articles about Stephen Paddock and thinking “I KNEW IT!!!” “I HAD A FEELING!” “I COULD SOMEHOW TELL FROM THE LOOK IN HIS EYES!” The reports are coming out this morning that the person now responsible for the deadliest mass shooting on U.S. soil was also (at least) verbally abusing his girlfriend.
Las Vegas Shooter Was Known To Verbally Abuse His Girlfriend In Public: Treating a loved one like dirt is something he shared with other mass killers. From Huffington Post
These correlations just get me so fired up and somehow at the same time leave me feeling so helpless. I do not understand why we as a country are not doing more to PREVENT these types of horrible acts from happening. There are a lot of people who are currently stressing the importance of restrictions on gun ownership. I agree with many of these people and after having lived in a country with very strict gun ownership laws (and nearly 0 acts of domestic terrorism) I think it makes a lot of sense. However, there is a deeper problem here that needs to be addressed and I guess if I boil it down to it’s core, it is a mental health issue.
When it comes to “making an abuser” or “making a lone-wolf” or “making a terrorist” there is something that fundamentally “goes wrong” with these people. It could have started in their childhood it could have came about when they were an adult. The point is that when someone starts to exhibit warning signs, we all need to be prepared to do more to intervene and ensure that these people do not end up getting worse.
People who become abusers are generally lacking empathy. They lack empathy for the people that they are abusing. They don’t relate. They don’t value that person. They can’t understand their experience. Abuse and domestic violence are a warning sign!!! It is a warning sign that there is something wrong that we need to pay attention to. It is not just a “domestic dispute” it is not just a “lovers quarrel” it is a red flag that the abusive person is lacking empathy… that something is broken.
Making it easier for people like this to get their hands on weapons is another very serious layer to the problem. Don’t even get me started on the fact that trained military members / Police officers / Etc. with PTSD often make up a large percentage of people who become abusers.
Ugh! I know this is ranting and a little all over the place, my heart just hurts for all of the victims and friends and family of this tragedy and I can’t help but think that somewhere along the way Stephen Paddock could have been stopped, this horrific act could have been prevented.
Maybe it should have been his family recognizing the terrible ways he treated his girlfriend (and I’m sure others too) and getting him help. Maybe it should be a better way to enforce and get help for domestic violence offenders. Maybe it should have been a better mental health evaluation that prevented him from getting guns in the first place. Maybe it should have been a billion things, but it should not have ended up here.