I am a retired school psychologist. I spent most of my career in education working with and for children and youth who were having difficulties in school because they were "different." After I retired, I took a year to write a book based on my experiences. It is titled, "Bart, or it didn't really hurt that bad." I could not get any publisher to publish it, or even read it. Finally, I had it self-published by Trafford Press. They put it on Amazon.com, but no one has bought it. Books about this subject do not sell; they are not moneymakers. Most people want to ignore or deny the existence of this topic until there is another mass shooting. I could not even get my local newspaper to print the following letter:
The rationalizations that I have heard for the shooting in Aurora, Colorado, remind me of two ideas that I recently read in Alexis de Tocqueville's well-known work, Democracy in America, Volumes I and II, which he wrote in 1835 and 1840. One was that in an egalitarian democracy, in which there are no great class differences, the common person seeks simple answers to the more complex questions of life. (The reason for this is simple: most people are too busy with daily life.) The other idea was that democracies are ruled by the "tyranny of the majority."
The list of the "simple" explanations for the shooting is thorough: The shooter was a "madman," freedom has its risks, our culture is deteriorating, gun control is practically non-existent, the parents are to blame, and last but not least, evil happens. We all know that these may all be contributing causal factors. We all sense that there is not really anything that anybody can do about them. Thus the conclusion: humans are capable of anything, and there is no way to prepare ourselves for the next incident.
That is where I disagree. As a result of scientific progress and enlightened thinking, most civilized humans have eliminated many so called "evils" from daily life: We no longer burn witches at the stake, dueling is no longer practiced, torture is outlawed by the Geneva Conventions, slavery was abolished, we have laws against child labor, women can vote, etc.
However, what we have not yet achieved is acceptance of mental illness as a normal human condition. Although behavioral scientists and practitioners have all but solved many if not most of the enigmas of emotional/behavioral disorders, the majority of citizens still attach a stigma to these phenomena. One hears everywhere at all levels of society the words such as "madman," "crazy," "whacko," etc. People believe that in our free society, we are free to have and to solve our own problems, and it is a sign of weakness, it is almost un-American to want to seek help for oneself, for one's neighbor, for a troubled acquaintance. You might embarrass them. Besides, we are all too busy.
This condition could be alleviated. The formula is not complex. The method is better education. Yes, psychology, the science of human behavior, should be taught in all of our schools, at all levels. Better understanding leads to tolerance and eventually to acceptance, and then to improvements and solutions. I know that, in an enlightened and accepting environment, James Holmes could have been helped, and the carnage in Aurora could have been prevented. I know this absolutely.
Unfortunately, our society is currently bombarding our children with false values: Greed is good, money is power, great wealth brings happiness, corruption is okay as long as you don't get caught and punished, violence is an acceptable way to get what you want, the ends justify the means, to name a few. This is what the majority wants. The majority wants to make money, to get rich, and to have fun; it wants its guns and its grotesquely violent entertainment. It is that simple! The majority rules in a democracy. However, de Tocqueville warned that this tyranny of the majority could become as oppressive as that of a despotic dictator.