Eight people shot this morning at the Fedex airport facility in Indianapolis. The shooter was the last of them as he killed himself.

A Chicago 13-year-old is shot and killed by police, and Brooklyn Heights, Minnesota, just experienced its fourth straight night of rioting spawned by the Daunte Wright shoting. The specter of the George Floyd incident hovers over these incidents and others akin to them.

Never mind that in each of these incidents, all three were in some form of resisting arrest, a criminal act in itself. When the details of the Chicago exchange of fire with the young teenager are revealed, will the examiners inquire as to what a 13-years-young teen and alleged gang affiliate is doing running around on the streets at 2:30 a.m.?

The incident at Fedex has few details by this writing. But then there are the shootings in Tennessee, Atlanta, Bounder, Rock Hill, SC Orange, CA, et. al.

Now we the public will endure the ‘predictables’… The Left will doubtless and immediately jump on the events before anything is known to raise their pet gun issues. That the shootings not involving criminal conduct and resisting arrest may display more examples of a workplace grievance and of the mental illnesses fostered by the society will not hamper them. They will seek to impose legislation on law-abiding gun owners, as they know that many law-abiding people just might obey them. Soooo, the politicians make it look as though they are busy keeping us safe, oh yes, do keep us safe from those law-abiding gun owners, Mr. Biden and company.

The other predictable is the ‘thoughts-and’prayers’ syndrome, where strangely I find a point of agreement with those tired of hearing words now ringing so hollow that we have less patience with them. These are well intended. and the detractors are correct that action is needed, like yesterday.

But what action? The stated purpose of my blog and website is to change the culture. So let us have at it…

The first cure is for the mental health communities to do what has been left undone. In instance after instance, the perpetrators are known to mental health providers and even announce their evil intentions in advance via social media. Those intentions are left unreported. Even with my client privilege as a presbyter of the Church I have had respondents raise ‘privacy issues’ with a view to defend those who knew and did not speak up.

If a penitent confesses to me that they have done something, I am required to offer a path to forgiveness while counseling the penitent toward amendment. In that case I am forbidden to speak to anyone about their confession, and protected by law in keeping that confidence. But if the penitent tells me that he or she may perpetrate some evil action involving violence against others, I first ask questions of a means to carry out the action, a reason prompting the action, and then the place and time if any when and where they plan to accomplish it. If I receive relevant responses, my first obligation is to insist that the client accompany me to the nearest hospital emergency room, which even for the perpetrator planning the action is the best option by far. If the client refuses, I must call the authorities and report the plan and the client.

In most states it is no different for the mental health and counseling community. Yet the obligation in so many cases is ignored.

Additionally, this same lack of response has been the case in many true crime stories, the Sheila La Barre episode in New Hampshire for one example. Law enforcement as well had opportunity and obligation to arrest and detain right before their eyes and did nothing but file paper. The Parkland School shooter in Florida was well known to local law enforcement and others.

The collective response? Blame the National Rifle Association, who had nothing to do with the episode.

Thirdly, we must address that aspect of our culture shaming those who might report a possible incident. Our youth are particularly vulnerable to the demands of this social climate. Columbine is an example, where students in the school knew of the weapons in the possession of other students exhibiting hostile intentions. ‘Well, I didn’t want to “rat” on anyone’ seems to be a part of the youth culture having yet to learn of their social responsibilities but fear ostracism and the brunt of the accusatory companions and even gang threats if they do inform on a possible violent episode. So one does not want to be the ‘fink’, and others are dead, and others injured both physically and emotionally, scarred for life as a consequence of the horrors avoidable if we learn to applaud those with the backbone to stand up.

Changing people in order to change the culture is a worthy goal. But I testify that changing the culture in order to change the people is prior to it as the more immediate necessity.

We must change our culture by placing the blame and responsibility for these shootings where each properly belongs.

If we do not learn these things, we will continue to pay the price…

Father David+

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