Fight violence with respect, patience, kindness

Last Friday in Colorado, yet another school shooting (including a suicide) occurred. Could any law have prevented this outburst by a reportedly normal, popular, 18-year-old boy? As many legislatures, including Ohio’s, are loosening gun controls, we need to consider alternative means of limiting homicides with firearms.

Some businesses and schools have anger-management programs. Libraries have resources on human behavior. Many cities have mental health professionals. Before taking such steps, however, all people can try patience, respect, kindness and a willingness to include a person (not just a child) who doesn’t mix well or communicate with equanimity, a person who might sometimes act out with hostility, destruction or cruelty.

Bosses, parents, teachers, coaches (people in authority) need to refrain, even when they are “right,” from sarcasm, vehemence, belittling language and hard punishment. No law can prevent every crime nor resolve everyone’s anger, but families, friends, neighbors, co-workers and communities of faith can contribute, somehow, to preventing violence. Disagreements, corrections and rebukes do not have to lead to explosions.

Cool heads, patient hearts, some humility, empathy and (sometimes) good humor can all help. Not just individuals, but especially groups with a variety of spiritual talents, including forgiveness, can help a distressed person work through a difficult time, can help to heal a sick one.

George Reid Marsh,