We never know when a tragedy will hit. None of us were prepared for 9/11, the Boston Massacre, or Sandy Hook. Yesterday there was a tragedy that occurred in a place I used to call home, Logan, Utah. I didn’t know any of the victims, but I remember the places. I went to one of my very first college dance parties at the building where the shootings took place. I can’t imagine the fear that passed through Mackenzie and Jonathan’s head’s prior to their murder. The public doesn’t know any of the back story from the “text messages” but what I am guessing is neither Mackenzie or Jonathan had any inclination that their lives would be cut short that night. What has been said about both is that they had bright futures ahead of them, there were going to go places. That all ended with a few gun shots. As I learned of who the shooter was and saw his picture, I saw a regular USU student, one I would talk to at a party, or sit next to at a class… Not a murderer. But, that is exactly what he became. In his suicide note he stated what he was about to do was “selfish.” I have no idea what he was going through or the challenges he faced. It has been stated that Jared and Mackenzie had had a romantic relationship, but she wanted to date other people. From what I have heard he was a wonderful and trust worthy friend. He was patient and kind. My question is how does someone like that become a murderer? How does someone kick down the door and kill two innocent people and then seek a third? It is hard to comprehend and with-hold judgement because of the lives he took. Nothing if anything that Mackenzie or Jonathan had done to Jared was worth the punishment they received.
I am not claiming that I am an expert, and I have no idea what was really going on in the minds of those involved.When I was in Junior High I was selected to be a peer mediator. At the time it what a great honor because I got to skip some classes and be trained on how to help others solve conflict. I remember thinking how silly some of the examples that were given and how the people in the discussion couldn’t resolve the problem with their words. As I have grown into adulthood, I have realized how unrealistic and uncommon it is for people to “solve their problems” without violence, passive aggressiveness, or plain hate. At Utah State I took Jennifer Peeples class “Communication and Conflict” and each class period was used to learn how to solve conflicts with communication. In our examples we found that many times there were misunderstandings because of someones perception, miscommunication, or lack of listening. As we slowed down the “conflict” it was easier to hear and understand both sides arguments and needs. When this happened it was more likely for a conflict to be resolved without a lot of lasting animosity. While studying Communication at Utah State, I learned the importance of it. It could be the determiner of a job you wanted, a potential partner to marry, or in this example, your life.
Again, I want to reiterate that I have no idea what really went on in this tragedy. I don’t know what the families of the victim’s or the shooter are feeling right now. What I do know is, it is time use our words. More and more weapons are becoming the brunt of the conversation. I don’t know if it is because the increase of violent media, the training the shooter had in the military, or a mental imbalance. What I do know is that each life has meaning and purpose. There is no reason to cut it short.
Think before you act. Use your words. Seek Help. You are not alone.
Makenzie is the daughter of a dear friend. I worked with her mom, Carrie, for a few years and became fast friends. They are amazing people and it is heart breaking that she, her husband and their other daughter are going through this. Such a senseless act.