'Coordinate our intervention effort'

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The BDN Editorial (3-19-18) clearly identifies the immediate and root causes of the numerous mass shootings in our nation's modern era. Those causes are found in the "unhinged" individual and the dysfunctional family.

The young man in the recent school massacre in Florida indeed became "unhinged" and also came from a chaotic, abusive and splintered family life. Is there any doubt that this young man was unhappy, isolated, angry, bitter, felt unloved, rejected, vengeful and wanted to lash out at others? Herein lies the crisis.

I listened sadly recently to a pastor who challenged us regarding that young man. The pastor asked whether any among us had taken the time to tell the young man about Jesus or that God loves him?

Primary prevention rests with the family, of course, and the ingredients for a stable, wholesome family includes a loving married father and mother among other significant factors. As the primary prevention of massacres and violence is the individual's family, the immediate prevention is adequate action by others - us. Identification and intervention are the keys. In the Florida case, the man was clearly identified. It was our fearful, disjointed, blind eye and inadequate intervention efforts that failed.

As a community, we must develop and coordinate our intervention efforts. This must involve law enforcement, schools, courts, legislators, neighborhoods, churches and family members. We must develop a team effort on two levels: 1) the broader coordinated efforts of the above groups and 2) a specific interpersonal outreach team to connect with the identified threatening person. Remember he is probably a threat to himself, as well as others.

May God guide our efforts.

Don Hilbig

Beloit

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