I am unsure how many times in my life I have questioned why people do the things they do. I have probably done it in this blog a half dozen times or more. I know I wrestle with this at least weekly.
I get that people have free will. Any one of us can decide on any given day, hour, or minute whether we are going to do something good or something bad. Something that will help others or something that will hurt others. Something that is "right" and something that is oh-so-wrong.
I realize that most of us don't generally do really good or really bad things; we just live our lives. Sometimes we perform a random act of kindness and we are hopefully mostly nice to our family and friends. Other times we say something unkind, are not truthful, and do things we probably should not. But the truth is, I grapple with those little wrongdoings as much as I struggle to wrap my head around the really heinous things people do.
Yesterday a man walked into Western Psych, a hospital/institute that provides treatment of mental health and addictive disorders in the Burgh, and shot eight people, killing one, before police eventually shot him to death. This is coming on the heels of the teenager who shot and killed three students and injured two others in Ohio.
I know that tragedies like these are rare. We cannot live in fear and wait for something bad to happen. But I think the problem mostly lies in the little things that people do. My guess is a perfectly good person does not one day start shooting at random. I suspect gunmen/women start off making a bad decision or two. It could be as simple as not following the rules, lying, being unkind to or even physical with others, or taking something that is not theirs. Left unchecked, it can just go (and grow) from there.
This morning, J was talking about a kid at school who lied about something J did. J wondered aloud if that person lied to the teacher, did she at least tell her parents what she did wrong. I told J that most likely she did not; this girl probably wanted to "save herself." And then I told J that she is a good kid; she really is. I know she is absolutely disrespectful to me at times. But she knows right from wrong. She does her best to be kind to others. If she does something wrong and a teacher calls her on it, she will admit what she did. Unfortunately, too many others don't do those things.
In J's eight-year-old mind, she cannot understand why a boy would copy off her paper and then tell the teacher he did not do it, even when the teacher said she saw him. J cannot believe that a kid would intentionally push or shove another kid, hurting him or her. J cannot fathom why a kid would constantly ignore what a teacher asks him or her to do. J just does not get that kind of behavior.
Quite frankly, neither do I.