The day started off on an exciting note. WordPress 6.0 was being released. I was in the core slack channel watching the process unravel. In awe of the brilliant work of developers and contributors working hard to get the product to the finish line.
And then I found out I am one of the 53 Noteworthy contributors. For the second time. Voted by my release leads. Such a grateful and thrilling moment.
Within a few hours, the news of the Uvalde shooting started to trickle in. And by noon it was all over social media. My heart sank. I was at a loss of words. I couldn’t even process what the families were going through.
19 kids who will never grow up. 2 adults. 21 families. 21 groups of parents and grandparents and sisters and brothers and uncles and aunts and pets. All coming to terms with the loss of each of those 21 folks. Coming to terms with the fact that their person was never coming back home.
While I am not here to rant about gun control, my heart began to wonder – What happened? What goes on in the mind of an 18-year-old to do this? Where does this all begin?
We have seen babies. They have so much love in them. No matter where they are born in. In US or India or Somalia or Ireland or New Zealand. They coo, they smile, they giggle.
What then happens? When does it take a turn for the worse?
Our mind is a crazy place. Once it starts constructing stories, it begins to look for proof of the story around us. And the more you look, the more you will find evidence that proves the story in your head is the right one.
Sort of like when you think of buying a red car, you notice red cars on the roads.
It’s a vicious circle. The only way to break out of that is to get help -from family, friends, and loved ones. And sometimes even medical help, if needed.
I have been through some rough patches in my life. I have been lucky to have parents who cared for me, an understanding family for support, and besties I can call for a good cry. I am immensely grateful for the help and hand-holding my family and close friends did to help me get to a better place.
What about those who don’t have this?
Gun control is one side of the state of affairs. But there is another side too. And we can’t overlook that.
Covid has put a financial strain on families, especially those working in the service industries. Kids are experiencing a mental health crisis. Loneliness is at a peak. Teens are spending long hours playing violent video games with no social interaction. And 18-year-olds can sometimes be hard to get to.
I am not justifying what happened. What’s done is wrong. The families don’t deserve this.
Every shooting is also a desperate cry for help from an enraged kid/adult whose mind has gone into a dark abyss. An unsuppressed anger gone awry, a plea for help gone unnoticed.
What can we do as a society to help those who are struggling, those who don’t have access to the facilities – for health, mental health, counseling services even financial stability.
While I don’t have any answers, as family members, friends, teachers, co-workers, or medical workers, we can look out for the warning signs and act on them. Until the higher-ups get their act together on the bigger issues, this is all we are left with.