Promoting Empathy With Your Teen

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In The Aftermath Of The Fort Hood Mass Shooting, A troubling Message

A ubiquitous message sent to youths over gun rights.

There is a ubiquitous message we send to youths, over the ownership and use of guns in our society. That message is an eye for an eye. In the aftermath of the Fort Hood mass shooting, a lot of emphasis has being placed on the shooter's religion and his unhappiness about receiving orders to be deployed.

Here's the truth, Maj. Hasan is a man with significant mental illness. A mentally ill man who found easy access to a gun, and who subsequently had easy access to use it on innocent people. The focus on Maj. Hasan's reasons for the shootings takes away from the psychological ramifications around the rampant availability of guns in our society. So before some of us pretend that if "Maj Hasan hadn't being a Muslim extremist none of this would have happened," let us not forget that in the past decade, the media has being filled with stories, about disgruntled human beings, walking into crowded areas and killing people, with hand guns and assault rifles.

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An eye for an eye, for an eye, for an eye, is dis-empowering to our collective psyche in regards to being able to resolve conflicts. As a former soldier stationed in Fort Hood and a former resident of Killeen TX, I can testify first hand that Killeen has one of the most highest rates of violent crime in the country. This incident while big, is a sad continuum of that trend.

Less emphasis should be spent on Maj Hasan's extremist views and more should be spent on a two fold national conversation. The first that addresses the addition of more filters to screen out people psychologically unfit to own guns, and the second to address new ways of looking at conflict resolution.

Ugo Uche is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in adolescents and young adults.

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