Do you know your neighbour?

The shooting incident in Toulouse, France like many others although not new still remains a message by someone from the not-so-right faction. The messages, whether they are from an organised syndicate, acted alone, school boy or any depressed individual should not be taken lightly. I am not suggesting that we should bow to their demand or sympathise with them, but have the opinion that we should recognise, think and manage their expressions.

Do you know your neighbour?

These intruders to our lives have very strong believes (or disbelieves) that were not consistent with their values. If we were to observe further, they have gone through rougher times than we thought and they have been misled too, I believe.

While we can’t anticipate when they will strike, from mass shooting to suicide bombing and chemical warfare; I believe that we should keep vigilant at all times. The community that we lived in must be taught to recognise the behaviour of people we see and interact every day. Children must be taught to recognise danger, apart from not talking to strangers. They must learn the danger signs around them and understand the consequence of the danger to themselves and their community. Parents can no longer shield their children away from these issues. The more we expose them to the problem the more they will be prepared. They will then learn how to avoid, prevent and even to react should they recognise the problem. Let’s teach them.

While recognising that school shooting incidents were quite rampant in the last decade, the school authorities were also at the attackers’ mercy. Being institutions that promote knowledge and morals, sometimes they found themselves in the same dilemma most of us faced. The question of how these incidents could have been avoided were constantly asked by the authorities and I am sure there were many educational and counselling programs that have already been implemented albeit the fact that some were effective and some not. Counselling, medically, psychologically or otherwise sometimes were overwhelmed by the attacker’s emotion. Many would agree that these attackers have gone through very depressed environment from their childhood and their current living conditions. We should recognise that they need help, early. Or otherwise they will carry and reinforce their belief system, which has proved to be fatal in many occasions; both for themselves and other innocent lives.

Mass killings in underground train stations, suicide bombing in crowded markets and tearing buildings apart were just some of the horror stories behind attackers’ jubilations. Their hatred kills, their self esteem need achieved and message delivered; were some of their ways of expressing their opinions and they do it so well when nobody listened. Sad, but all of us agrees that these weren’t the best solutions. Governments, administrations and peacekeepers, however must play their roles as effective as possible; free from self-interests, economic greed, racism and misleading pressures. They are putting innocent lives at stake and putting constant fear walking down the street. They have meddled with cross border dispute in territories thousand miles away, they have intruded the lives of innocent victims looking for one leader and they have intervened with others’ political change to name a few. That has put many of us into a very awkward position, having to worry of our own safety, in our own backyard!

What can we do? Nothing, except being more vigilant at all times. And that include knowing who your neighbour is! Sad.


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