While hard at work this morning writing an article about the evolution of the influenza virus that I was particularly enjoying, I made my way to my Google home page in order to run a quick search. Unfortunately, before I was able to enter my search term, a headline in an RSS feed caught my eye: “Shooter Storms US Elementary School, up to 27 Dead”.
Against my better judgement, I made my way to the story and read with horror the broken details of the rampage, finding it to be nearly a mirror image of the one I read earlier this week; an angry man with an issue vaguely related to the premises brought high-powered weapons to the school, shooting defenseless victims at will before apparently taking his own life. The result? Somewhere in the realm of 30 people dead, about 20 of them small children.
Another deranged individual intent on dying and taking as many people with him as possible, leaving us with zero recourse, and making prevention seem nearly impossible; how does one defend against the entirely unreasonable? I don’t know, but I’d suggest that the first step is to be sure that he’s armed with a knife, as opposed to an automatic weapon.
I don’t care who the shooter is, or why he thought today was a good day to murder innocent people, including many very young children. I don’t care how he came to own two 9mm handguns, whether or not society should consider him mentally ill, or what his relationship to the school was. I don’t care about why the media thinks it appropriate to jam themselves in the midst of terrified and grieving parents, or why shill reporters think it a good idea to get the details on the murder of babies from a girl in the second grade, live on camera.
I hate to be the guy who sounds despondent and disengaged, but how much more of this can we take? I’m not even in the same country and I feel the life sucked out of me every time I’m reminded just how hopeless society is on some fronts; how must it feel to be someone who lives in Newtown, Connecticut today? How must it feel to be a parent or schoolmate of one of the dead children? How must it feel to breathe your last breath at 5 years old while staring down the barrel of a madman’s gun?
I’m not sure I have it in me to maintain optimism for the future. Take a look at that photo of terrified children being lead away from the bodies of their dead friends as they scurry for cover and ask yourself if you can.
Eleven days before Christmas, four days since I’ve read about the last mass shooting in the United States, and three hours before I’ll get to see my own children when they return home from school, all I want to do is gather my loved ones, remind them how important they are to me, and offer a wish that, somehow, everyone affected by today’s shooting – and last week’s, and next week’s – finds a way to push through it all.
Merry Christmas, indeed.