People constantly ask, why do tragedies like the ones in Aurora and Newton happen? What can be done to prevent them in the future? While the solution may not be simple, the nature of the problem is obvious. The problem lies in the way these individuals think and reason. We may refer to them as delusional or deranged, but they do function at a level that allows them to carry out these heinous acts. It may not be possible to really know what is in the mind of an individual who can do what these men have done, but consider the possibility that the noise in their heads went something like… “They hurt me and I am going to hurt them back.” “They say I am bad, but I’ll show them.”
Tragedies such as these are blatant examples of how dangerous overly dichotomous thinking can be. What if these individuals had been taught at an early age about the potential dangers of dichotomous thinking? What if they had been shown at an early age to question the utility of dichotomous thinking? What if they had been taught to value goal-directed thinking and been shown how easily dichotomous thinking can derail goal directed thinking? What if the people around them were more aware of this problem? Even the strictest gun control will not prevent individuals like them from acting out. It’s time to address the real problem. It’s time to start thinking more critically about the way we think.