Thursday, April 19, 2007


To date I haven’t commented on the events in Blacksburg. I can say in all honesty that I haven’t seen 1 minute of news coverage on this. I have heard snippets here and there on the radio, mostly discussions on 1) what the school administration and police officials did or did not do and 2) whether or not the video/ writings/pictures that this guy sent to NBC should or should not be broadcast. What I would like to hear a discussion about is the how (not in how it was done, but in how have we, as a society, gotten to the point of anger = mass killing).

How have we gone from middle or high school “angst” issues (bullies, depression, break-ups with girlfriends, etc.) that used to be settled with, at worst, fist-fights across the street from the school that lasted maybe 10-15 minutes to taking multiple weapons to school and killing not just the bully or the ex-girlfriend, but seemingly random others, then killing yourself?

How have we gone from “road rage” issues (slow drivers, getting cut-off, not turning right on red) that used to be settled with shaking a fist or finger gestures to ramming the other vehicle/running them off the road and/or pulling out a gun and shooting them?

How have we gone from getting fired/let go/downsized from your job that used to be settled by yelling at your boss or going to the local bar and getting drunk to first killing your spouse and/or children, then going to your ex-employers office, killing the boss and any other random employees that you run into, then killing yourself?

I truly can’t comprehend the leap that Americans, for the most part, have made in this regard. Is part of the problem about our understanding of the “why” or “how” the fact that professionals don’t have the opportunity, after the event, to talk to these individuals because for the most part, the event ends in their death, usually by their own hand? Is part of the problem the American, as compared to the rest of the world, “gun culture”? Is part of the problem the individual freedoms that we enjoy which make it more difficult for authorities to more closely monitor (observation, arrest, confinement, etc.) those in our midst that have been identified by others as potential “problems” or “risks”?
I’m not very interested in discussions about “triggers” or what may or may not have happened in these people’s past. I would hazard to guess that break-ups and parental abuse and depression and stress and mental illness have been with us for eons. The causes have always been there – it’s the effect that has changed and escalated.

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