We should have seen it coming
> 9/15/2006 9:19:32 AM

“We should have seen it coming.”  It seems like every time there is violence in a school, in the aftermath the question that is thrown around over and over again was why did no one see the signs?  With this most recent shooting in Montreal, it seems likely that that question is going to keep being brought up.


They were right there in front of us, why didn’t anyone notice?  While the simplest answer may be that it was because no one was looking for the signs, a more accurate statement was that no one was able to recognize the signs.  People make their judgments based on their own store of knowledge.  Most people have not had the experience or knowledge on how a seriously troubled youth might act, and usually do not know until it is too late.  It is a reflection of the problem of how do you ask for help when you do not realize that you have a problem, or someone around you has a problem. 


How do we tell the difference between someone who is “shy” versus “isolative,” “independent” versus “excluded,” “reserved” versus “secretive,” or “sad” versus “depressed”?


Whatever may be buoyed about in the press over the next few days about this most recent shooting, about this youth’s “difficulties” or “troubles” or “problems,” the bottom line is this person had a mental disorder.  Period.  Shooting people is pretty much evidence of that. 


Sure we can say that hindsight is 20/20, but at the same time if we do not learn from our past mistakes we are doomed to repeat them – a couple of clichés, but that does not make the message any less true.


So what is the answer?  There is no simple answer, there rarely is, but as with most things in life, finding ways to gain more information usually increases your chances of making better decisions.  The idea of becoming more informed of the mental stressors and disorders that may be affecting our youth is usually shunned because we must first accept the fact youths can have mental disorders.  Let us accept that fact so that we can prevent tragedies instead of writing stories about the aftermath of not recognizing the signs. 

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