One suggestion of something worthy of Focus: Get involved in your local community and make an effort to meet your neighbors.

If we rely on overworked and inattentive parents (and teachers for school-age kids) to be our first and ONLY trigger for identifying cases where intervention is warranted, our protection against incidents like Highland Park, Uvalde, etc. will only be as good as the attention span of that parent. In the Internet Age, we've gotten VERY good at ignoring the local in favor of focusing on the global, which has the effect of silo'ing ourselves and our ambient attention to our immediate lives and interests. I'd be interested to know on the block that the shooter lived, how many of his neighbors even knew that he existed.

This alienation from the people that physically live around us make it easier to de-humanize those around us, making us more abstract targets for potential shooters. It keeps us from supporting the overworked parents and providing an additional warning layer that might identify people who need help or who might become trouble. It's easier to pull the trigger on Anonymous Older Man I Don't Know than Carl From the Corner Store Who Sold Me Cigarettes Last Week.

There's a meme image that I saved to my desktop, where the upper-half are security cameras, with "New York" and "Texas" captions. The bottom half of the meme is a collage of abuelas (Hispanic grandmothers) looking out their windows, captioned "New Mexico". Aside from the (incorrect) implication of New Mexico being a technologically behind state, it makes the point that the older women in town have a better idea of what's going on than a bunch of cameras. We need more abuelas and other folks looking out for each other both as an additional early warning system as well as an ambient social fabric that draws everyone into it, and it's harder to compartmentalize people as Us (Me and My Online Friends) vs. Them (People I Don't Know or Care About).

To the extent we can make this an Us (Me and My Online Friends) vs. Us (The People Around Me I Know), I think we'll end up much better off. That won't stop all of these tragedies (the Uvalde shooter probably knew many of the people he killed), but it at least gives opportunities to identify and attempt to influence people headed down a dark path earlier than after the ultimate tragedy.

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Jul 6, 2022Liked by Steve Berman, Chris J. Karr

There's a salient point regarding government programs you made: the decisions to shutter rather than reform that which is not working well/efficiently. It's a feature of the "cut government to the bone"/"drown it in the bathtub" approach.

Arguably, that call to the police and the confiscated weapons should have been a flag during the background check. That process need some work.

Regarding prosecuting Trump: avoiding the pain now likely only delays/strengthens the issue, as with Russia's takeover of Crimea and the lack of coordinated response amongst the EU/NATO.

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Jul 6, 2022Liked by Chris J. Karr

Amen brother. This is the reason i have kept following you over the years. We often disagree, not a bad thing, but in this case, you nailed it. As a society, we have failed; as a country, we are failing and politically, we are bankrupt. So little works well these days and rather than deal with it, we too often look for someone to blame.

I turn 74, today. An old friend sent me a birthday greeting. I find birthdays mean less and less with each passing year. However, i do often use the day in reflection; has it been a life well lived? If i am to be honest, lots of mistakes and missteps. I've done some things right/well, some not so much.

The one most positive aspect of my life was entering a treatment center some 47 years back. While there, i was forced to admit i was an alcoholic. I had to make amends, to look deep within and understand no one else was responsible for what i had become. It wasn't pretty, it was effective.

My point is pretty simple; we as a country, as a nation and as a society need to honestly admit, we are failing. We need to stop blaming everyone else and take a good look in the mirror. None of us are above it, not on the right, not on the left and not the vast majority that are stuck in the middle.

We used to be held accountable, we used to be held responsible. For whatever reason, the traits the Greatest Generation owned and lived by have been devalued. Boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and whatever is after that are different. We all have to do better. Everything starts within.

Thanks for reminding me.

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Jul 6, 2022Liked by Chris J. Karr

In 1960's growing up I saw very few homeless in Los Angeles area. Then came Governor Ronald [later President "Don't Say AIDS"] Reagan [whom I actually supported, though too young to vote, following my mother and grandma's Republican advice]. Reagan cut back state hospitals, and this led to increase of mentally unstable folks on the streets. Today there are homeless camps everywhere in So Cali. As for drug problem, the wealthier children can afford more narcotics, and are less likely to get caught because they can hide in spacious homes and backyards, not using drugs on street corners, The result is these lethal extremist scions, like the latest mass shooter from affluent suburban Illinois.

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