If you see something, say something

My heart goes out to all those people in Aurora who were the victims of the tragic shooting. Every time I hear something or see someone talking about this on TV, I feel the tears well up in my eyes. I realize this isn’t my normal type of post for this blog so just consider this a moment of reflection.

I don’t know any of the people who were killed or seriously injured during this tragedy but I know so many people like them. I know a 6 year-old girl like Veronica who was the youngest victim of the shooting. My neighbor’s daughter is that age and she’s one of my son’s favorite people to play with in our neighborhood. And I know a family like the Sullivans who desperately searched for their son Alex for more than 14 hours until they heard the disturbing news. I understand it was Alex’s birthday that day.

These were just ordinary people living their lives enjoying a night out at the movies. No one could have ever dreamed something like this would happened.

BUT I believe …. there was someone who knew.

I’m not in any way trying to turn this into a political debate. Trust me, I’m a political junkie and can go toe-to-toe with the best of them. Nor am I going to get up on my soapbox and preach about gun control. I have always found it hard to believe our founding fathers were thinking about semi-automatic weapons when they wrote the 2nd amendment.

No this is about something deeper. Something we can all do to prevent another tragedy like this from happening again.

After 911, a campaign was started called “If You See Something, Say Something.” Whether we got complacent as a nation or just moved on with our own lives, somewhere along the way the campaign seemed to lose steam. I believe this idea should be brought back and start a nationwide discussion about how we can do a better job of preventing these senseless crimes.

I’m not talking about a creepy ‘Big Brother’ kind of thing. I’m talking about paying attention to the people we come into contact with on a regular basis. Has a family member become withdrawn and showing signs of depression? Has a co-worker or friend done something completely out of character? Has a neighbor been shut up in his house lately and you haven’t seen his car move in days?

More and more information has started to come about this nutjob in Aurora who killed all those people. The investigation has shown his plan was in the works for at least 4 months. I’m sure we’ll eventually learn why or what triggered him to do such a horrific thing.

My point is … someone knew. It’s a rare person who just snaps like this and starts shooting. This person planned his attack. He slowly started to slip into his fantasy world and created his plans. I mean, he rigged his house because he knew the police and investigators would come after him. He made these plans to take a few more out with his death wish.

And someone saw this happening and did nothing. Someone saw him becoming more introverted. Someone had a conversation with him about the strange things he was doing. Someone saw him change into this other person capable of committing such a heinous act. And they did nothing.

Please know, there is not one person who I am pointing a finger towards to shoulder this blame. The ultimate blame should and will always rest on this man’s insane actions. He made the decision to act on his deluded fantasies. He will and SHOULD ALWAYS be the one who will take the full punishment for his crime.

But I believe in my heart that someone knew.
When we look at what happened in Aurora and other incidents like the shooting of Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), it makes me wonder how life would be different if someone had stepped up and said something. At the end of the day, you’ll reach out to someone whose going through something tragic in their lives. I’m sure they would appreciate your attempts to help them feel better and let them know they aren’t alone. They’ll know someone cares … and this would be a bad thing …. BECAUSE WHY?

So I urge you all to think about these words as we try to heal as a nation: If You See Something, Say Something. As hokey as this sounds, the life you save could be your family or your own.

(Thank you for letting me get that off my chest. And now back to your regularly scheduled program …. )

Photo credit: Aurora Movie Theater

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8 thoughts on “If you see something, say something

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I live in PA, so you know the media here is consumed with another example of silence…Penn State. I don’t get silence, I never did and I never will. Personally, silence is a selfish act!

    • Don’t even get me started on that … I have an 8 year-old boy who loves college sports. It tears me up to think about all those boys who were abused and going back to my point – no one said anything. I can’t understand why they didn’t fire the guy (I can’t even bring myself to say his name) when they first found out. It’s pretty sad to think that a college football ‘tradition’ was considered more important then these kids lives.

      And now all these kids will have to deal with what happened the rest of their lives, just because no one said something.

  2. You make some really great points here, especially the one about the founding fathers and a semi-automatic! Loved it…but let me play the devil’s advocate for just a moment. So what happens when they do report suspicious behavior? Do the police follow up on it? And if so, do we have enough police to support this kind of reporting? I know many people at my work would be reported for suspicious behavior and that just’s one place.

    I do love the mantra “if you see something, say something”, but I don’t have much faith in the follow through. Say something to who? Without an act of a crime, there’s nothing anyone can do. And tell the person themselves that you notice a difference in their behavior? What if they’re as nutty as this killer? Surely they wouldn’t love that we pointed our their craziness…

    I’m not trying to be negative on a great post, I promise, I just wonder how we can fix it and maybe it is speaking up…I hope so. Thank you for reminding us that our obligation is to fellow human beings. We need to keep life in perspective and not let one more crazy person ruin it for us.

    • First let me say — I LOVE your questions! I appreciate the conversation and like I said on your site, it sure wouldn’t hurt if other people in our country would have these kinds of conversations.

      You had lots of questions so let me get to these as best as I can. My thought process behind this was not to initially contact the police. We have lots of programs in place to help people with alcohol abuse, drug addictions, etc. There’s even a program on TV called Intervention – and don’t even get me started on Hoarders! – where counselors come into the scene to help the family/friends.

      These family members/friends do these interventions because they care about these people in their lives. The goal is to help these people before they fall off the edge and hurt themselves or even worse, someone else. The main issue here is people really don’t know WHERE or WHO to call.

      SO where are these programs for mental health? I saw a picture of the crazy Aurora guy with his orange hair and a girl in the background. The look on his face is beyond scary. That would be the moment when someone should pick up the phone, even if it was to call his parents. And what if his folks had called someone to go check on him and they found the stuff in his apt? Would somebody had stopped him and checked him into a psychiatric ward?

      As far as contacting the police – well its my understanding the amount of ammunition he ordered was something typical of a person in his area for target practice. That order size wouldn’t cause concern. NOW if someone in my neighborhood – the suburbs of Orlando – ordered that amount of ammunition, it should be seen as a red flag. If someone knows about this kind of behavior in my area and does NOT call the police, then there’s a clear disconnect. This is an instant where I can see a call to the police would be in order.

  3. Thank you. Our society has become too insular, we all need to check on and in with each other much more. We can’t love all the nutjobs into submission, but I’m sure it would help the those who are lost, and lonely before they slip over that edge.

    • Thanks for your feedback and joining our conversation! I don’t usually write posts like this but this tragedy affected me so much that it just poured out of me. I certainly don’t have the answers to how to stop this senseless crime from happening again but maybe, just maybe someone will see this and it will help someone.

  4. Pingback: If you see something, say something: Think about it « My journey to live an authentic life

  5. Pingback: “We all go through something in life” | My journey to live an authentic life

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