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Lessons From A Tragedy In Poland

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Video of a brutal murder-suicide in Poland last year can teach us some important lessons in family safety, mental health and information privacy. While shootings like this one are rare in every country, breakups and young adult relationship drama are not. So, we need to share these important lessons with our kids and grandkids so they can keep themselves safe.

We tried posting a link to the video but given the tragic and graphic nature of the scene, it has been removed shortly after popping up each time we find it. Feel free to search for it, but I’ll describe what took place below. (If you are able to find it, I do not recommend playing it at work, in front of children or if you’re squeamish yourself.)

According to European media, the woman in the video had broken up with the armed man sometime prior, but how long they had been broken up was unspecified. But, he apparently couldn’t let go of his feelings for the woman. When he saw on social media that she was with her new fiancé at a restaurant, he ran down with his lawfully-owned pistol and shot the other man to death.

He’s shown in the video shooting at least one extra round into the dead man, then pacing around for a bit while his ex-girlfriend screamed and freaked out at what had just happened. Then, he removed his hat (as if to keep it from getting dirty), and then took his own life in front of the woman.

Lessons We Can Take From This

While there aren’t more details about whether the men knew each other, how long ago they had broken up, and what happened during the breakup, we do know that some people don’t do well during breakups. There’s a strong social expectation to handle breakups well, but there are also strong instincts and a lot of emotional pain involved that can make a person snap.

So, the biggest lesson is that we need to watch out for younger people going through breakups. Whether you’re the parent or friend of the woman or the man involved, both need support and guidance. They also need people to watch out for signs of mental health problems and encouragement to go get help if things get out of hand. In the worst cases, they need someone to protect them physically.

Another thing this shows us is that the “guns are only for 21 and older” argument is nonsense. I don’t know enough about Polish gun laws to know if it was even possible for her to get her own gun or whether it’s legal to carry one. But, I do know that in the U.S. there are many states trying to hang onto the dumb idea that 18-20 year-olds don’t have a right to self defense.

Here’s the thing: the man was 30 years old and she was 20. In the U.S. this man could have gotten a carry permit in most states, while the woman simply cannot get one in some places. That’s incredibly unfair (and her dad should probably be steering her away from dating guys ten years her senior at that age).

Finally, there’s information security to consider. The murderer found out where they were because they posted about it on social media. A good rule of thumb is that nobody should ever post a live location on social media. Feel free to post later, but never post while you’re there.

Murders like this are extremely rare, but many people have returned home after posting about their lunch or a vacation to find that someone had burgled them. We all have those random friends on social media who we’ve never met, and we shouldn’t be telling them that we’re away from home and primed to be robbed. So, it’s never a good idea to post about a vacation or a lunch until you get home.

If we can watch out for young people, advocate for their self-defense rights, and teach them to be smarter with social media, our kids and grandkids (or you if you’re young, of course) can avoid these kinds of tragedies.

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