While we mourn the loss of our fellow human beings in Colorado, who were caught in a tragedy that should never have unfolded, we must stand up and let people know that it is not acceptable to rage against innocent victims who are in no way involved in your personal pain, impulsiveness, revenge or fantasies.
As a nation we need to be more aware of those individuals who are going through tough times and sending distress signals through their unusual, bizarre, withdrawn or solitary behavior.
We need to see that they are not calm inside, that they're incapable of coping with daily stressors, and that they do not know how to go with the flow of life while holding on to the hope and belief that things will improve. They need help, and someone must be brave enough to ask the right questions and make sure that the appropriate help is available.
If we ignore those in need and turn our heads to look the other way, we are turning our own power and control as rational people over to those who would perpetrate hurtful and harmful acts on others, sometimes for unknown reasons.
We must come to the realization that our world, the one that we shape and own, is blanketed with indifference, harsh judgments and disinterest except when it comes to our own interests, concerns and safety.
If we continue to head in that direction and become more and more isolated from each other there will be many more tragedies, and the dues that we pay will increase exponentially.
We have seen this in our recent history, and it is not getting any better.
One lone person cannot stop all of this sadness or madness from occurring, and ignoring it opens the floodgates and sets the emotional traffic light to green.
So troubled individuals continue to be sad, angry and mean, and in doing so they will concoct elaborate plans to get even with the world while seeking a catharsis for their wounded egos and their souls that are filled with pain.
This is not a pretty picture, and most certainly not one we wish to paint.
In order for preventive action to be effective, it takes families, friends and entire communities becoming more aware of their surroundings, more caring about their fellow human beings, and demonstrating their willingness for reaching out to those individuals who show signs of distress or who express an urgent need for help.
These are the types of actions that can take a crisis out of our first responders' hands, stop these heinous massacres before they occur, and provide a solution for getting ahead of any future disasters by ensuring proper help and support are in place.
When people are distraught, experiencing distress or have become disconnected or delusional there are behavioral signs that point to impending disaster.
There are telltale signs that reveal a person's level of distress, and when in doubt about a potentially explosive situation ask someone who deals regularly with trauma, stress and violence. They will provide the necessary resources to prevent bad things from happening to innocent victims.
We can stop this roiling tide of violence if we all agree to pitch in and make the right things happen for everyone involved.
Pamela Lindsay, Hollidaysburg