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  • Writer's pictureHoward McBroom

Superior, Nebraska

A real horror story happened last Thursday in Superior, Nebraska. A man had gotten fired from his job and later that day, he came back with a handgun and opened fire at a grain elevator, killing two employees. One was a 60-year old woman and the other a 53-year old man. The gunman shot and wounded a third person before then getting killed by one of the other employees who had grabbed a gun from a nearby office and shot him to death. This guy is now deemed a hero for having saved the lives of many others the gunman intended to kill in that elevator.

There was another horror story a day or so ago in Boise, Idaho in a shopping mall. A man came in with a gun, started shooting, killed two people, and wounded four others. He was then shot and critically wounded by the police. The hundreds of people in that shopping mall are probably all traumatized from the incident. One community after another keeps getting frightened and heartbroken. What is this doing to the soul of America? How are people going to react to this? The Fundamentalists believe that Satan rules the world, wants to start eliminating people, and that the final days are coming. My concern is that people might start believing this, maybe not consciously, but on a deep, subliminal level. They might start believing that Satan is in charge of the world and that we do need to sweep everything aside and put a Fundamentalist theocracy in power. I don’t know how this level of traumatization will work out. There are several different ways it could go and that is certainly one of them. We can’t can continue living with this level of trauma and I think there are some things that could be done about it. First, it may not be a good idea to fire people, even if they are causing trouble. Instead, it might be better to get them help. If someone can’t get along with others, try to get them trained in social skills, provide a mentor, roleplay sessions in which they can learn how to get along with people, and teach them emotional intelligence. That might be a better way to go instead of just firing them because if you do that, you no longer have any control over what happens to them. If you terminate them, they might come back with a gun and start shooting, just like that guy in the grain elevator. A lot of angry people don’t know how to act professionally since they may have come from violent and abusive backgrounds. They may not know how to get along with others, solve problems, or work with people, and if you terminate them, they might feel like there is nothing more to live for and they’ll go down fighting and shooting, which is not what we want. We need to find out why they’re acting so crazily and see if there’s some kind of help out there for them. It might not be easy to find help, especially in small, rural towns, but I think an effort should be made to try to get them social and emotional training before we terminate and throw them out.

A few weeks ago, I talked about parents patrolling school so they could be safer environments. I recently found out that people are actually doing that in Louisiana - there’s a school there where parents are coming in and walking around the hallways, keeping an eye on the students, and seeing what’s happening so they can ensure that things are peaceful and quiet. This is beginning to happen in Louisiana and needs to be done in many other places, too. Parents need to be more involved and teachers need to be teaching love and compassion because we cannot withstand much more traumatization. Everybody knows that they could be shot at any moment and that it all depends on when human time bombs explode. We have to stop mass shootings. They may be only 1% of our total gun violence problem, but they are the most dangerous 1% because they affect so many people and destroy our sense of safety and security. What is this doing to American society? If this level of trauma continues, people are going to turn to anyone or anything they think might help. I don’t want to have to leave the country because I’m afraid that some extremist group might come to power again and turn our country upside-down. If you are a person with disabilities, America is the best place to be. However, if the level of trauma builds up to a point where people are willing to abandon democracy, what’s going to happen to people with disabilities? When Hitler came to rise in Germany, people started terminating people with disabilities and they were taken to mental hospitals and killed. I can picture something like that happening here today because who’s going to care about disability rights when you have to live in fear of being killed every day? We have to get creative about handling people and we need to get them help and give them a line of retreat. We need to get more parents and teachers involved in schools so they can teach love and compassion. We need to have some kind of defense system at the mall. We have to teach people to be alert and ready at all times because as each day passes, more people are being traumatized and having to bury loved ones. This just can’t go on. I don’t think there’s any nation in the world that can live with this level of trauma; we need to take action now. We need gun control and gun laws, yes, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to get a handle on this problem. If democracy can’t keep mass shootings from happening, then what good is democracy?

We have to reverse this level of traumatization. There’s nowhere in the world that provides the kind of services for disabilities than America does, but if America goes down the drain, what resources am I going to have? If all my rights are taken away and the new government revokes the American Disabilities Act, what kind of future am I going to have? I will no longer be an active mentor or advocate. I will no longer be able to vote. I think people would go along with anything if they thought it would to stop all the violence that’s been happening, but if they go along with it, what will happen to me? What will happen to all the other people with disabilities?

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