Why are we plagued with all the school shootings? And other shootings? It's not about guns or mental problems. It is about behavior and lack of respect for others, among various other reasons. We, as a nation, have lost respect for the sanctity of life. We are so concerned with ourselves we have no feelings for the other guy or gal.

When we are slighted, insulted, offended or otherwise experience some kind of insensitivity from someone, we react by "blaming" him or her for whatever. The "blame card" seems to be the answer. But it has never resolved anything. We don't know how to behave in difficult situations.

Several people I've talked to have mentioned some of the changes we've made in our society, so we don't "offend" anyone, have made us uncaring, overly sensitive and wanting to get even. Here's a list of contributing factors behind these shootings. Bullying, assertive and aggressive attitudes and behavior, selfishness, lack of high moral principles, including religious beliefs. These have been discouraged for years, even decades. Why? Because it's the way our country developed and grew. And the "activists" were offended by the high level of success of what made our nation great. Lack of high morals has contributed to the spread of STDs, teenage births, divorce and drugs. Aggressive behavior has brought on selfishness and bullying. The shootings at schools and other places is the next step up from "normal" peaceful behavior.

We have gun control laws, which don't work, and sympathy for those with mental problems, but we don't really help them. We complain about all the problems we have and continue to ignore the true cause. For decades, established and acceptable traditional behavior has been degraded to being unacceptable or "old fashioned." Yet this traditional positive behavior has enabled us to be the strongest, freest, most desirable country in the world. Why else do all these immigrants (both legal and illegal) come to live in America? They want part of the American dream, despite the problems we have.

We need to return to the high moral standards and positive behavior we had. We need to stop the march to socialism. We need to be free to succeed, as well as to be free to fail. We need to be productive and contribute to society. To be independent and not to depend on career and generational welfare to feed our families. To be responsible, taxpaying citizens. Welfare is supposed to be a helping hand for those truly in need, which could (should?) be a function of charities and religious bodies -- not the government.

By being responsible and self-supporting citizens and families, we might see the end of gangs, drugs, violence and crimes in general. Frustration and arrogance would be diminished. Dare I say being honest, truthful, and nice?

Personal religious beliefs may not be for everyone, however, having a basis for positive behavior makes it easier to determine right from wrong. The Golden Rule is one way to guide us. This is in most religions in the civilized world. Following this just might stop the mass shootings and other crimes. It's way past time for all of us, including the mainstream media, to promote the practice of positive good behavior. It's not just the guns and/or mental problems, but rather behavior that is the problem. A question for disbelievers and unbelievers: Would it be counter to your beliefs to have a country that followed a positive way of life and without any school shootings?

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Herb Dettmer is a retired BG resident, U.S. Army veteran and writes this monthly column representing the viewpoint of "Joe Average" citizen. He is a freelance writer and author of "Others," a devotional book.

Opinions expressed in "Joe Average" are the writer's own.

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