Topic category: Other/General
This time, when it was over, there were 32 murders and one suicide to deal with.
Try finding the rational in that.
And the only person who mightíve been able to tell us why he did it put a pistol to his head and pulled the trigger.
That put an end to that line of inquiry.
NBC News decided to air parts of the killerís "manifesto" in an effort to allow us to gain some "insight" into the killerís mind. The "manifesto" quickly made its way onto other news outlets
I didnít watch it.
Maybe it was reasonable and newsworthy to air what I understand was a rambling, incoherent tantrum, but I come down on the side that asks why. Why should we give this deranged individual precisely what he wanted Ė an audience? Why was it necessary to add to the grief of parents who were reeling from the fact that their children were dead?
The gist of his "manifesto" couldíve been recounted and that, to me, wouldíve been enough. I understand the need for news, but now I worry that another psycho has been shown precisely how to capture "fame."
As regards what to do, I donít have the answers. Iím not sure any of us do. For sure, I donít think thereís going to be any quick solution. That is, I donít think anyone will be able to point to something and say; "There. Fix (prohibit/stop/change) that and this will never happen again."
Itís taken us a long time to get to where we are and itís going to take just as long to fix Ė if itís possible.
One thing that seems apparent, however, is that whateverís gone wrong sure seems to have its worst effect on young males.
Over the past week, Iíve heard that one of the many things we need to look at is how the violence in games, videos, songs, and movies is desensitizing our kids.
It strikes me that spending hours on end, day after day, blowing away everyone and everything would have an effect on "normal" kids. Take a kid whoís been bullied, is a loner, and who isolates himself in some violent fantasy world and Iíd put money on that effect being downright bad.
We might want to ask ourselves what do we do about people who send up a lot of warning flags. This kid had a lot of people on edge for quite some time, but heíd broken no laws.
Itís a tough call because your definition of "odd and strange" might be my definition of "deranged and dangerous." Where do we draw the line? Who makes the decision?
Guns are part of the equation too but, despite everything weíre going to hear on this topic, they remain morally neutral objects. Theyíre well designed tools that can be misused.
What stands out, however, is that their current misuse sure seems to coincide with a coarseness and a lowering of morals and standards that have crept into our society.
Guns were every bit as easy Ė if not easier - to get 50 years ago. Back then, young boys could literally go down to the corner hardware store and buy ammunition for their .22ís (which they often carried on their bikes) and no one gave it much thought. They didnít give it much thought because, 50 years ago, young males werenít regularly walking into schools and shooting everyone in sight.
Somethingís changed, but it hasnít been the guns.
Iíve spent a lot of words in this column on the pace of life we now live.
We need to slow down. We need to take a breather. We need to re-engage with our kids Ė especially the young males out there.
They need time. Our time. Time to learn the things theyíre good at and the things that might be beyond their talents. They need strong, positive examples in their lives. I guarantee that an X-Box or a music video wonít meet that need.
You fill in all of the things Iíve missed and, even then, weíll still never know if itíll prevent another incident like this. Thatís because there is such a thing as evil. And sometimes, no matter what we do, bad things will still happen.
But, looking back on what "bad things" meant not that many years ago, I think we need to ask ourselves why the definition has changed so much for the worse.
The consequences of not doing so are, once again, in the news.
Biography - Larry Simoneaux
Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.