Here is evidence of mental health protocols in America being fucked up, which is something we might want to collectively figure out if we're going to stop things like mass shootings. Courtni Webb is a student at Learning Life Academy in California, and last month a teacher found a poem in her notebook that empathized with Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza. In the poem, Webb wrote the following:
I understand the killings in Connecticut.
I know why he pulled the trigger.
The rest of the poem is filled with lines that fleshes out that thought: "Misery loves company," "If I can't be loved no one can," "Society never wants to take the blame" and "Society puts these thoughts in our head." Webb's school, unfortunately rather predictably, flipped out — suspending her from school and threatening her with expulsion. Here is the reasoning for that suspension, per the school:
A letter from a Life Learning Academy official said Webb's writing "contained deeply concerning, and threatening language related to the recent school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut."
Of course, schools need to be hyper-aware of any students that might be contemplating or dealing with thoughts of mass violence. But, suspending and shunning a student that empathizes with a mass murderer isn't even close to the way to do that. As Webb says herself:
"I didn't say that I agree with it, I said I simply understand it," she said of the killings.
"I feel like I've really been made to almost look like a monster by my school and I don't appreciate that at all."
None of this even touches on freedom of speech issues, but what it does show is that an ongoing discussion of how to prevent another Sandy Hook doesn't begin and end with the president or Congress or state governments. It trickles all the way down to attitudes endemic to our society.