Going ‘Postal’

Today a new tragedy.   2 news persons where shot dead on live tv, the result of a disgruntled employee.    The news is full of these anymore, unhappy employees, family members, students deciding that they no longer want to live this life, and are determined to take out all those who they feel were the cause of their unhappiness, depression etc.

This increasing number of incidents tells me that we are in serious trouble.   Who is next, who will be collateral damage in some self-righteous person’s rage against those who have ‘wronged’ them?

I see 3 major issues in our society today that have lead up to this happening.

  • The ‘it’s all about me’ attitude
  • The unwillingness to accept any responsibility for anything in their life
  • Blaming it all on mental illness

I know that I am not going to make any friends with that last statement but I will forge ahead.   Yes, there are many mentally ill people in this world and it’s a horrible problem that needs much attention.   Is it possible that some of these are directly related to mental illness?  Absolutely.    But I firmly believe that the majority of these are not mentally ill people.   I believe that they are selfish, self-centered people who have never been required to take responsibility for anything.   They were never taught that their happiness, livelihood, friendships, lifestyle etc. are their responsibility and require effort and work.   They believe that it’s up to their employer to provide their dream job, their spouse to fulfill their emotional needs, their friends to fill their other emotional needs and that the world owes them a living.  They believe that they should be treated like the best and the smartest and that no one can dislike them or even have a harsh word for them regardless of the effort they put towards being the best, smartest, friendliest etc.   They have never been taught the lesson that how people perceive you is 99% your responsibility.

We live in a society that is increasingly in favor of allowing anyone who isn’t ‘happy’ with their life to end it by killing themselves.  It has become a cause to be celebrated.   Life has no intrinsic value anymore unless you want it to have value.   If you have decided that your life has no value, we will celebrate you instead of trying to convince you otherwise.

We have also created a culture where people think they are entitled to be lauded at every opportunity (participation trophies anyone?) and if they aren’t something is wrong and we need to do something about it.  We have implied that everyone is entitled to praise where it is not warranted, happiness when we haven’t done anything to work for it, acknowledgement for showing up and on and on.   We have told people that unless these things happen they can’t be happy.   We have told them that if they aren’t happy then life isn’t worth living. We have told them that fame is what matters and that living an ordinary day to day existence with the peaks and valleys and joys and sorrows that are a part of life aren’t enough.

So we must extend this to the person who has decided that they no longer want to live and if their life has no value then the lives of the people who have ‘wronged’ them also have no value.    With this mentality it is easy to see why someone who has decided that they can no longer live would decide that ‘if they have to die’ then why should those who have caused them so much unhappiness live either.  They are going to ‘get their 15 minutes of fame’.

As long as we continue to celebrate this idea that the only value that life has is in the mind of the individual, it’s just going to get worse.