Like most people, the bombing of the Boston Marathon left me a bit shaken. Almost immediately after I heard the news a friend posted a question on her Facebook wall asking what can be done to prevent this from recurring. I don't really think anything can be done to prevent these things from happening, not all the time, and there are many more influences that lead people to commit these acts that I haven't mentioned here. But I did have some thoughts to her question immediately after hearing the news, and this is what I wrote:
Here's what I think needs to be done, I don't have all the answers and yes some of it is maybe idealistic but it has to start somewhere. Acts of violence like this are becoming increasingly common, drastic situations call for for drastic measures and it needs to be addressed aggressively before it becomes an epidemic. One death from random senseless violence is one death too many.
People generally don't just snap and commit something like this, there's usually history behind it. So I think it needs to start at the roots, with kids. I don't think it can be argued that there's a breakdown in the family structure compared to even a few decades ago. Parents work more, leaving their children without guidance and direction, to be raised and influenced by the wrong groups. Kids need to be taught discipline and to be accountability, that actions have consequences.
The media is responsible as well, I believe. All we hear about in the news is bad, it's a constant barrage of negativity and it's insidious. Doesn't do much to help people feel there's good in the world. That really needs to change. Many people have become desensitized to violence and human suffering. Video games promote death and killing for sport and do nothing to promote the value of human life.
We live in a society where it's acceptable to see someone get their head blown off graphically in the name of entertainment, but not acceptable to watch a couple having sex or see any form of nudity without warnings. Why? North American values are fucked up and desperately need to be re-evaluated. Cut down on violent programming and push shows that promote the values of relationships and human life. I know media is all about ratings and ultimately money, but what cost do we have to pay?
How about cutting back military funding for other countries and putting the money into social programs. Extra-curricular activities for kids after school to keep them from getting bored and looking for the wrong outlets. We need more restaurants that carry healthy food instead of all the processed crap that's all too readily available, not only is bad diet largely responsible for a massive amount of health problems but also plays a monumental role in the number of mental health issues we're seeing. A healthier body is also a healthier mind and, I believe, with more balance we'd see less random acts of violence.
Despite being monsters, whoever planned this did so with forethought, skill and a degree of intelligence. I just wonder what history, what circumstances came together to drive them to the point of taking innocent lives.