For more than 30 years I've been telling people to keep things simple. And while I'm not in any way opposed to complex technological advancements, the need to understand simplicity is typically overlooked. By examining the roots of any living thing, a tremendous amount of knowledge can be gained. For the roots contain all the basic information that makes possible everything from the simple Daisy to the most complex human being. So let's look at a few simple facts.
One of more enlightning knowledge factors to come out of the Littleton, CO massacre is the realization that human beings thrive on structure. They are drawn to it like a magnet. For structure insures survival, and survival is our most basic human instinct. We are so dependent on structure that we will create our own if not given or shown one that we feel will insure our personal survival. The evidence of this truth is overwhelmingly apparent in the rules of membership in any gang, club, group, cult, etc., etc.
Every single group of individuals who gather together, have some purpose which draws them to co-operate with one another. From the smallest niche to the largest organization, there is always a basic goal. Whether that goal is laudible or evil depends entirely upon the people who formed that group. What drives some folks to violence and others to peace depends on the goal they hope to attain. But in virtually every case, the ends justify the means. Human beings, by nature, will use every trick in the book to attract and/or avoid those who are not in harmony with their pursuits. This is why radical groups are often quite small.
Radical groups, of any kind, attract those who find that particular form of structure appealing. Regardless of the demands placed upon them, the need to feel like they belong and are appreciated, often causes otherwise innocuous individuals to do extraordinary things. The history books are filled with an almost endless variety of situations where one person started a revolution. From the invention of the radio to the massacre of six million German Jews, there has always been one person who set the wheels in motion. And that individual had one common personality trait.
Leaders, by nature, are very sure-footed. They know exactly what they want! They are driven by some inequity that they feel will ultimately cause them harm. Whether their perception of reality is accurate depends on the range of experiences they have had. And in this regard, young adults, ranging in ages from twelve to ninteen, are old enough to realize what they don't have, but are too inexperienced to realize the potentials life has to offer. And since the majority of the situations they experience occur at a school, what they are taught plays an extremely important roll in their development.
It's no secrect that American history books often portray hateful and mean people as heros. Ask any child of fifteen about Col. Custer, and his Last Stand, or Edison, the so-called inventor of numerous 20th Century devices. These people are idolized as super-beings who fought to the death to preserve their beliefs or ideals. And their fight is seen as something to be admired and sought out. Educators continue to promote violent and hurtful behavior as an acceptible means to an end, if that end benefited mankind in some convoluted way.
Let's face reality head on. Any act that results in the loss of a human life is, at best, questionable. The ability to successfully cohabitate comes from years of learning about a meriad of circumstances and situations in which two people are able to resolve their differences, and come away with a mutual understanding. If the learning process is permeated with violent actions that lead to a desirable end, it's very difficult to instill any sense of humanity. For it is taught that violent actions can lead to an acceptable conclusion. That premise is totally wrong and, here again, history proves the fact. For throughout history, every group that relied on violence as their teacher has ultimately failed.
America, as we know it, may soon fail. We, as a society, are resorting to violence as a means of self-expression. The evidence is overwhelmingly aparent in all the media. We portray ourselves as a violent society who cannot control our behavior. Every single news broadcast reports at least three major stories that involve a violent action. As viewers, we are left to judge the actions of those we do not know, and situations that are presented in a less-than-complete manner. Nonetheless, we do judge.
However, the knowledge that we have the ability and right to judge, comes from the things we are taught. If we are taught never to question authority, it's unlikely we will. If we are taught not to play with guns, it's likely we won't. Fact is, it's all about education and personal experience. They are what mold us into who we are and who we become. As a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, I know first hand about motivating forces, both good and bad. And I'm here to tell you that structure is, by far, the most important factor.
From the cradle to the grave, we are ALL directly influenced by the structure within our lives. Without well defined structure, and left to our own devices, WE can end up ANYWHERE! And our boundries are established within the limits of our imagination. If our structure is limited by a controlling force, we learn to survive within that structure. If, when we reach the age of majority (adulthood), we decide that we do not accept the boundries and limitations of the structure we were given from birth, it is generally accepted that you then have the right to establish your own path.
Finally, we all must make an effort to insure that all young people feel, in some way, important to society. Knowing that we belong, have self-worth and a goal are the three most important attributes to good mental health. And people who feel good about themselves, and a part of a greater good, are unlikely to even think about harming another human being. That's SIMPLE!