All the adjectives are used up. Horrifying. Ghastly. Tragic. Pointless. Frightful. Sickening.
Another perfectly normal person, on a perfectly normal day, bursts into a college lecture hall and murders five people. And then does what he probably should have done in the first place thereby saving us most of those used up adjectives, and shot himself.
Now the Chicago area has a new St. Valentine’s Day massacre for a new century.
This one hit closer to home than the others, as several coworkers have children who are students at Northern Illinois University, a popular state school just three hours away.
The one yr (justifiably) humble svt spoke with this morning talked of his son and his nephew with some detachment. They both were near, but not in, the scene of the murders. The nephew was on his way home; the son was going to work his part time job at Arby’s tonight before heading out. Life goes on. What’s a little trauma?
This is just the latest in a long bloody series of such events, on college and high school campuses.
Courtesy of a NYTimes blog, here’s a timeline, lest you require a reminder.
A String of Campus Gun Rampages
By Patrick J. Lyons | February 15, 2008, 12:22 am
If the news from DeKalb, Ill. — a gunman bursting into a college lecture hall, killing 5 students and wounding 16 more people in a fusillade of gunfire, then killing himself — gives you a sickening feeling of familiarity, you’ve been paying attention. The Northern Illinois University shooting rampage joins a string of similar incidents to hit the headlines in recent years — one of them less than a week ago.
[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]
The debate is already typical: Our NRA member, Second Amendment misquoting types remind us that guns don’t kill people, people kill people.
Or, this cutie pie: well, if more ordinary students and professors and teaching assistants on campus had been armed with concealed weapons, then someone in the lecture hall could have knocked the guy off before he did too much harm. This would be a salutary deterrent to future madmen and women, for certain.
My preference is this one: If the guns hadn’t been so shockingly easily available, then these incidents couldn’t have occurred.
And, of course, it’s not just the gun availability issue.
This generation of college students is a charter member of the latch-key cohort, whose parents were so scrambling to make a living that they left these kids to fend for themselves for large parts of their lives. Initially after school (the latch-key reference), but the habit stuck, and we let these kids alone in their bedrooms with their televisions and game machines and movie players and eventually the Internet, because it was easier.
We thought that we were raising a bunch of self-sufficient, self-reliant young adults.
Rather, we have raised a generation of trigger-happy war gamers, whose favorite entertainments were and remain bloody movies, bloody TV series, bloody shoot-em-up video games.
I’m certain that those who shot themselves at the scene after wreaking such havoc, like yesterday’s perp, had just suddenly understood for the first time that real bullets sever real arteries, blow holes in real faces to expose real bloody brains, kill real people really dead.
A generation of children reared on entertainment, instead of reared by parents consistently present in their lives hasn’t figured out that movies are entertainment, not real life.
That problems are not blown out of the sky by photon cannon.
Then of course, we bend over backwards to make it surpassingly simple for any disturbed misfit to acquire these weapons of mass destruction at the nearest Wal-Mart, or police supply shop (there’s one in my otherwise aggressively progressive town, God help us).
We have seen the enemy, and it is us.
It’s it for now. Thanks,
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