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  • Writer's pictureHoward McBroom

Death of a Family

Friday morning at 6am, an entire family was murdered at a popular state park in Iowa. A 23-year-old man from Nebraska came up to the family camping out at the park, pulled out a gun, and shot and killed the father, the mother, and their 6-year old daughter. For some reason, he didn’t kill their 9-year-old son; he was the only survivor. After the man killed the family, he committed suicide. We don’t know if he knew the family or if they were a random target. I believe the latter because he was from Nebraska and they lived in a town called Cedar Falls, Iowa. The mother was employed at the town library and was planning on doing a presentation about the library with the mayor, a presentation that will now never be made. The library was closed on Saturday to give the library workers time to grieve and process her death. This was a very well-liked family. They were well-known in Cedar Falls and just like that, they’re gone. The grandmother and grandfather of the young 9-year-old boy who survived will have to raise him now; he will have to live the rest of his life with the memory of his mother, father, and sister being murdered.

Our social fabric is being ripped to pieces by crimes like this. It is destroying our soul and our faith. America, the land of the free and home of the brave, is now the land of the mass murderers and mass shootings. These crimes are happening almost every day. Just a few days ago, a man went into the food court of an Indiana mall and started shooting people. He killed four people before an armed citizen shot and killed him. How long is the fabric of American society going to last if this keeps going on? How can we continue to live in a world in which you can be murdered at a food court in a mall or at a popular camping spot? How long can we continue living like this? What is it going to do to our heart and soul? What is it going to do to our democracy and our faith in life? This is simply tearing the country apart piece by piece at the seams. It strikes at the very heart of society. How can you believe in a good future when you have to be afraid to have children for fear they’ll end up being murdered? The Iowa State Park investigation is still ongoing but as far as I know, they haven’t found any connection between the 23-year-old man who carried out the shooting and the family who was killed. My personal belief is that he had a very disorganized upbringing, had very few life skills, hated the world for it, and then saw that family of winners, which angered him. They were well-liked and I think he realized they were winners and knew deep down that he was a loser, which might’ve been the motive for him to carry out the mass murder. He wanted to pay society back for destroying his whole future. He knew he was a loser and had no future. Meanwhile, they had a wonderful future ahead of them; they had everything he didn’t have and would never have so he struck back in the only way he knew how, he killed them. We don’t know how the 9-year-old managed to escape, but I really feel for his grandparents who are now going to have to raise him with that kind of trauma.

America isn’t going to have a future if we don’t do anything about this. Nobody will tolerate a democracy that can’t find an answer to this sort of thing and can’t seem to stop it. We need a societal effort against this; I think President Biden should call this a public health emergency. We need a nationwide public relations campaign to tell people that if they’re angry and hate the whole world, please ask for help. We’re here to help you and we can help you. We need to set up clinics where these people can learn the social and emotional skills they lack. We also need to have public service announcements telling people that hate is not the answer, shooting a happy family isn’t the answer, and we can give you a better life than that. Additionally, we need to educate the mental health system and use person-centered planning and self-determination to find out what these peoples’ strengths are. We need to have teams of people get together with them, talk to them, work with their parents if possible, and help them build a better life by giving them emotional and social skills and finding out what their strengths are. We must start doing this now. This country will not have a future if mass shootings keep going on. We need to stop this problem so we can put inclusion, diversity, and equity to work. There simply is no possibility of having inclusion in a society in which you have to be afraid that every time you walk out the door, you might get shot. Whenever I go out to the grocery store, I keep my eyes and ears open at all times for anything out of the ordinary. If I see anybody reaching for anything suspicious, I’m going to run for my life. That’s no way to live, at these shooters’ wills. What kind of future are we going to have if we don’t do something about this? How long will it be before some kind of dictatorship comes along and takes away our rights?

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