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One Moment, Please... Slender Man not the issue

Fri, Jun 13th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

You may have heard in the news that two 12-year-old girls from the same school in the Milwaukee area lured a classmate into the woods where they stabbed her 19 times to please a fictional Internet character known as Slender Man.

In another case in Ohio, a 13-year-old girl committed a copycat crime by stabbing her mother while in their kitchen at their home. Again, she cited her actions were an attempt to win the approval of Slender Man.

It seems like every day we turn on the news, there is another mass shooting with random unsuspecting victims caught in the crossfire.

•In California, a 22-year-old man allegedly murdered six adults and wounded 13 others.

At Seattle Pacific University, in the state of Washington, a 26-year-old man allegedly killed one person and wounded two others.

•In Oregon, a 15-year-old student allegedly killed a 14-year-old classmate, wounded a teacher, and then took his own life.

In Las Vegas, a husband-and-wife team allegedly murdered two police officers in a restaurant and then went to a nearby Walmart where they allegedly murdered a shopper who confronted them with his own handgun. Later, while confronted by police, the wife shot her husband and then shot herself. Both suspected killers died.

•And, a 24-year-old man allegedly murdered three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers during a shooting spree in the eastern Canadian city of Moncton.

•This all happened in just the past couple weeks. If this isn’t alarming, then I don’t know what is. I would certainly hope that this is not the new norm. Honestly, I don’t want to turn on the news some mornings. I used to blame it all on the appetite of national media to strive for sensationalism to drive view ratings, but these events have become our national reality.

•And, then we hear about Slender Man being the catalyst for these two recent stabbings by young girls attempting to appease some fictional Internet character.

Unfortunately, while our national media always seeks to place blame on guns, knives or even Slender Man, the real culprit is completely ignored.

The reality is that anything can be used as a weapon to harm another person. Vehicles, planes, bats, chains, shovels, frying pans, household chemicals; you name it and there is a potential threat of malice if people are not in the right frame of mind.

And, this is where the real challenge lies.

We continue to dance around the real issue at hand. We are facing a significant mental health issue.

How do we attempt to address this issue? How do we determine who is at risk of harming themselves and others? And, how do we help those individuals get the help they need so they don’t harm themselves or others? I don’t have any solid answers to these questions, and I wish I did. But, we do need to seek to understand and find some resolve.

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