As I sit here reflecting on the day of my birth on the tragedy in Connecticut, the deep sadness I feel is immense. My heart is so heavy, not only for the families directly affected, but for our country. While I am grateful that I still have my daughter to hug, the pain I feel in my heart is so deep, like a knife has gone through it. How could this tragedy have happened, or better yet, why do these tragedies keep happening? Like many problems, we tend to focus on the symptoms or the superficial aspects and not look deeply at the cause (s).
I didn't seek to have a child, it just happened like a miracle. I had felt for a long time that the world was becoming so dangerous that it wasn't a place I wanted to bring a child into. To me, it seemed like people were becoming increasingly disconnected from their families and communities. Life was becoming crazy, from the increased cost of housing to goods and services. Vacations were minimal in most people's lives and it just felt that there was not a sense of balance or ease in the world. Then the miracle happened at the age of 44. I was pregnant and I was so thrilled. While I was still worried about raising my daughter in a crazy world like this, I was hoping that I could, at least, provide some safety net for her.
I don't claim to be an expert on these matters but I have some strong feelings about what has happened to our country...and why we keep seeing these tragedies. Not only the mass shootings, but the horrific murders that occur regularly.
There is no doubt that we must change our gun laws. What is the purpose of being able to carry a semi-automatic weapon except for mass murder. Limiting ammunition rounds is a great start but if someone wants to protect themselves, do they really need to have more than one gun? Maybe there are exceptions that could be looked at on a case-by-case basis for those with "real" needs. Of course having more extensive background checks and re-licensing, like you do with your car, sounds like a great idea.
But, limiting guns is still only treating the symptom. If not guns, the assailant might use knives or a bomb. What is the reason that these people are becoming so violent? While we certainly need to limit the types of guns people can possess, let's take a look at the "why" this has become such a problem.
One area that I think we need to address is the gratuitous violence we see, not only in TV shows and the movies but in video games. There becomes a numbing effect and desensitization when someone is exposed to violence regularly. It becomes to some, acceptable. Even young children are exposed to violence in animated shows. And, it has been shown that extended use of screens (TV, computers, etc.) can be linked to behavioral changes. Check out this video for more info. Watching the news on TV can also be very depressing. I stopped watching the news after 9/11, and greatly reduced watching the TV in general since that time. If you have a tendency towards depression, being glued to the tube can put you into a black hole that is hard to pull out of.
Look at the food that is offered. So many chemicals in most store bought items that are toxic to the brain. MSG, refined sugar, food dyes, etc., can cause damage to the brain. Even grains and gluten can cause inflammation. You know that foggy feeling you have after eating grains, that is inflammation. It might be subtle at first, but if you eat a really healthy diet for a few weeks that is whole food based and then eat something "bad", you will notice how horrible you feel. Having a regular diet of processed foods and soda can cause behavioral problems including anger and rage. One of the first things I do as a pediatric chiropractor working with a child with ADD/ADHD and behavioral problems is clean out their diet.
Harris Coulter, PhD, a medical researcher and historian, discusses in his book, "Vaccination, Social Violence, and Criminality", how vaccines can change the brain. Through his extensive research, he describes the range of neurological damage that can occur from mild to severe inflammation of the brain, aka encephalitis. It can express itself from the child having staring spells, difficulty crawling, eye problems (cross eyed or repetitive eye movements), ear infections to convulsions. Other effects can be a disruption in their sleeping, hyperactivity, lowered resistance to infection, and allergies (food and otherwise).
Dr. Coulter describes certain personality changes that occur after the damage and some people that have had inflammation of the brain may be fascinated by burning buildings, given to outbursts of rage, and have a tendency towards impulsive behavior, including suicide. They rarely show remorse for what they have done as they probably see it outside of their ability to control it. "Vaccination, Social Violence, and Criminality develops the thesis that the "sociopathic personality" which has emerged on a mass scale in recent decades -- and which is responsible for a disproportionate amount of crime and social violence -- is causally linked to the childhood vaccination programs. In other words, vaccination causes encephalitis which in turn leads to these post- encephalitic states and conditions." For more info on this subject, check out this online article.
Then we have to look at the narcotics regularly given out to our children for depression, ADD and ADHD. It's criminal when you think about how over prescribed these medications are that cross into the brain. Do you know that if your child has been on Ritalin, they can never serve in the military? It's because it is a Class II Narcotic and having received this medication as a child will change the blood chemistry of the brain.
The side effects from Ritalin include: agitation, nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, depression, craving cocaine, aggression, hallucinations and more! Side effects from Prozac include: mania, loss of one's own self of reality and thoughts of suicide. Gwen Olsen, a woman who worked as a drug rep for 15 years learned the hard way about the problems with anti-depressants. Not only did she have severe side effects, her niece committed suicide from the roller coaster she was on in connection with these types of drugs.
I was listening on the radio to a report about one mom whose teenage son had depression. It was recommended that he start an anti-depressant by his doctor. They started the medication and he started having behavioral problems and his depression greatly deepened. When they realized this, they slowly withdrew his medication. One of the problems with SSRI's is that you just can't stop taking the medication. After the drugs were out of his system she realized that he was just going through normal teenage "stuff" and just working through these issues with talk therapy.
We have some major work to do as a culture and country. Taking a pill for every ill does not get to the root cause of the problem, and can create new ones. Vaccinations need to be examined by people that do not have a vested interest. Countries like Japan that don't vaccinate until a child is 2 years old has a much lower Infant Mortality rate than the U.S. and much lower crime rate. Even the CDC has people making recommendations not based on science but personal interest. TV "personalities" and politicians need to ratchet down their hate speech. Movie and TV studios must have less gratuitous violence in their productions. And, there must be stricter gun regulations.
Getting more connected with your family, neighbors and community and spending less time in front of the "boob tube", computer and video games are great starts. Increased exercise and time outdoors, less homework, and a focus on the arts for children will reduce their level of anxiety and depression. Even decreasing the after-school activities will reduce your and your child's stress. Running from place to place increases anxiety in many. Teaching your child how to reduce stress through deep breathing and not running away from their problems through being connected electronically will help them to resolve conflict. And realizing that some problems take work to resolve that a pill won't. There are a lot of wonderful natural healing therapies that are appropriate for children such as Chiropractic, bio and neurofeedback, meditation and stress reduction, massage therapy, acupuncture, homeopathy, yoga therapy and more that get to the root of the problem and not just treat the symptom. With the support of our communities and our government (with input from us) taking the appropriate action,.we can have a brighter future for our children.