Words. Words convey almost everything we wish others to know. As a rabbi, how often have I tried to use words to communicate some insight, feeling, lesson, meaning or whatever I wanted others to understand. However, as I write these words, they are failing me; or is it I who am failing them? How can I or anyone on this earth begin to explain that tragic movie night? We go to the movies to be entertained, not slaughtered.
If only we could go back in time and prevent James Holmes from purchasing such an arsenal. But we can’t. There is only one thing we can do…and that is respond. We can respond as a nation and as individuals. As a nation we are locked in a futile political stalemate. Perhaps, however, with enough pressure from us the voters, we could force Washington to put in effect some serious curbs on the acquiring of assault weapons. Secondly, we collectively should try to pressure Congress to strengthen mental health research, support and treatment of those who are mentally ill.
As individuals what we can do? James Holmes has been described by some as “quiet” and “shy.” Thus far I have not seen anything that might have indicated that he was about to snap, other than when his mother was called, she said that you have the “right person.” Who knows at this point what prompted her reaction?
I recall when learning of others who became rampage killers, that they are often described as “loners.” Perhaps each of us could do our best to reach out a bit more to some of the ‘loners’ we know. Learn better to listen to them. If we pick up on any negative feelings they might have about themselves, we could try to boost their self-image, and at the same time encourage them to seek help in understanding themselves.
And, Oh yes, we can pray. But our prayers will mean nothing, unless we do something to help bring our prayers to fulfillment.