As a person with a mental illness diagnosis (PTSD) I’d like to comment on the recent insanity in my home state. I was not a popular youngster, but I had friends. I think the difference is that these days we lead others to expect instant gratification.
I knew it might be college before I had a boyfriend. I cried myself to sleep many a night in jr high and high school thinking I’d never have a date. Didn’t happen like that at all, but I didn’t know that, any more than anyone does.
Also, there was a whole social climate that even if you had access to guns (and some of my friends did) that you’d never use them against those in your community. We’ve distanced ourselves from each other, stopped teaching civics, stopped telling kids that being a candy striper or equivalent is laudable, etc. We didn’t just believe in our ecology, political party, etc. we were part of a country. We were Americans.
I think the difference between my generation of misfits and the current crop of the socially maladroit were two things: 1) We expected things to get better socially and be okay financially. We would be able to find jobs, etc. 2) We were taught from a very early age that we, all of us, were part of something bigger than we were, we were all connected that way.
Not all people with a mental illness diagnosis are going to shoot up a room, but all of us, with a diagnosis or no, need to believe in our future and that we are all connected, a part of something bigger than we are.
I just don’t see that happening dammit! So I expect we’ll keep having tragedies like this, where someone feels disconnected from those around them, is hurting and lashes out in the only way they think they can take control and can matter, even tragically.