In a shooting rampage, 22-year-old Jared Loughner killed 6 people and wounded Representative Gabrielle Giffords. These tragic events in Tucson, Arizona have raised yet another alarm about violence in America and scrutiny about some causes of such horrid acts against innocent citizens. This incident has raised horror once again at the prominence and impact of violence in our country.
The violence trigger: what sets it off?
As I watched our local news today, I saw a story about a man who was angry that his car had been encircled by snow due to plowing. The man, intensely angry, found someone nearby who was using a snowblower and asked the individual who had plowed in his vehicle. The individual stated that he didn’t know.
Then, the man pulled out a gun, put the gun to the individual’s cheek and told him that he had better plow out his car or he would kill him. The very frightened operator promised to clear out the car immediately; so, the gunman went into his apartment to wait.
Later, the police were called and the gunman was arrested and held at $500,000 bond.
The penalty for this type of offense can be very harsh. Why would the man whose car had been plowed in openly threaten the snowblower operator with a loaded weapon and intent to kill?
Lakeside developed training on anger and violence prevention
Our society is rife with all kinds of eruptions and angry events.
In the department store, in the grocery story, at our place of employment, in schools, in sports arenas, on athletic teams, and yes, even in our homes, we see outbursts of anger everyday. Anger is often learned in our homes, schools or neighborhoods.
Though the permission to be angry to the point of violence should never be granted; sadly, it happens. Anger frequently leads to violence in homes and families.
At Lakeside, we were asked to develop training for understanding anger as a way to prevent violence. In developing the course, the research on the cause and process of anger revealed amazing phenomena. Thus, we know that understanding the all-encompassing way anger occurs in our brains and bodies is very helpful to finding ways to prevent it from escalating to a a point where we become out of control and possibly violent.
We at Lakeside are in a place where we see the impact of violence in many of our students’ lives. Too often, the most significant single factor in why they were referred to one of our programs is the inability to control their anger, and since anger is a precursor to violence, it is dangerous for this pattern to continue.
In my next few posts, I will be discussing some of the important research regarding anger, its causes, its processes and its impact. It will be my attempt to raise awareness, increase understanding and provide ways that we can help prevent the escalation of anger.
It is my hope that in doing so, I will help many of you to have some new tools to help those around you who have problems with anger better manage it and to prevent violence that causes tragedies like we recently witnessed in Tucson, Arizona.
Tune in and learn all you can. Equip yourself to help prevent anger and violence, two of the most important issues in our country today.
Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network