In the aftermath of the Florida shooting, many have demanded that the government solve the problem, through stricter gun control or mandating increased security measures. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we as a populous are in effect “putting the ball” in the government’s “court” with these demands. While there certainly needs to be a reevaluation of the regulations, background checks, and other mandates around this issue, the government is not and should not be held completely responsible for this problem and for its solutions. Our society has fallen into a trend of “pointing the finger” far too much; instead of attempting to find ways we as individuals and communities can combat the problems that ail our society, many look to the government or other outside forces to solve our troubles. In effect, we are saying, “this is not our problem to solve, it is the governments”
It is time we as a community realize that not every problem needs to or can be solely solved by Congress. In the case of Nikolas Cruz, many in his community knew of his troubles. Many knew of his mother’s recent death and the effects it could have on him, but to many, Nikolas was not their problem. Many students knew Cruz’s loner tendencies and odd behaviors, but where are the stories of students who reached out to him? Maybe they did not think it was their problem that he was acting weird and ostracizing himself. The school administration knew Cruz was acting out and exhibiting troubling behavior and they expelled him so he would no longer be their problem; perhaps it was not really their problem. The FBI was made aware of Cruz’s dangerous behaviors on many occasions and did not react appropriately; maybe they did not perceive him as their problem. But on February 14th, Nikolas Cruz became everyone’s problem.
In no way am I saying that anyone is responsible in any way for Cruz’s vile actions; that responsibility rests alone on his shoulders. While in this instance many members of the school community tried to alert the authorities about Nikolas, it would be foolish to believe that going forward it is solely the government’s responsibility to help confront what has become an increasing problem in America.
Pointing fingers at this stage is futile; if we as a society want to truly solve this problem and not just keep treating the symptoms, we must change as a community. This does not mean we have to all become Mother Teresa, sacrificing our lives to help the needy, but it does mean that we should check on and help others who are suffering. These actions should not come from a bigoted perspective but should originate from a community and even self-oriented motives.
By helping those who are struggling with any kind of suffering, physical or emotional, we are helping our community, and by extension, helping ourselves as members of that community. To help prevent what has happened in Florida, and in many other places this year, requires not only change and action from our government but from our communities as well.