Wednesday, March 11, 2009

First, Kill Yourself

I am bone tired of the seemingly constant stream of malcontents who go on shooting sprees because their girlfriend left them, or they got fired from the meat packing plant and their Dungeons and Dragons group kicked them out on the same day. I am exhausted with a society that keeps churning out members who think of lives, theirs and others', as a cheap medium for making a personal statement. To those who think that violence will finally free you from a life that is disproportionately harder than everyone else's, that shooting multiple someones will quell your anger at the world and give you the power no one has yet bestowed upon you, I say this. How about doing what the rest of the world does when faced with a crisis? GET OVER IT. Ask for the help you need, talk to someone, pop off a few rounds at some beer cans, hammer a couple hundred nails into scrap wood, take up an exercise regimen, whatever! Stop wallowing in the idea that your particular set of woe-is-me's are any worse than anyone else's, or that your latest bout with mediocrity entitles you to anything other than dusting yourself off and trying again. This is a novel approach for a professed liberal, I know, that of individual responsibility. And I'm not so naive as to not understand that most folks who are prone to violent rampages lack some critical coping mechanism to deal as the rest of the world does with disappointment and despair. So here's the corollary to the "deal with it" maxim. If your life is so hopeless, so miserable that you don't have any belief in redemption, if you are so sick of everything and so angry because no one in the world understands you, if you cannot face that you're no longer the high scorer in HALO or that you were picked on in 9th grade for not having the right kind of tennis shoes; rather than go out and indiscriminately spray bullets at a bunch of innocent people, and then end with yourself, try this. Show a little courage. START with yourself. Shoot yourself at point blank range in the head. This is all but guaranteed to cure any urge you have to shoot someone else.

Before anyone thinks I've lost what little stability I had before, I don't normally advocate suicide, even if it's for the greater good. And I don't really think what I ranted about in the first paragraph is the answer. But I'm so angry about the blame game and the recurring mantra of questions around these incidents that are never adequately answered. Alabama, Michigan, Colorado, Germany, Arkansas. The accents are different, the questions are always the same. How could this happen? Someone should have known. Someone should have done a background check at the gun show. Why didn't the teacher who read the fiction story he wrote in 2006 see that it was a cry for help? The National Rifle Association, it's their fault--assault rifles are the root cause of all this! Please. This is not a gun control problem. This is a society control problem. This is the function of a couple of generations of people who have been raised by electronic surrogates that are violent and desensitizing instead of parents who are involved and unafraid. This is the function of absentee authority figures and even more absent moral codes. When one of these incidents goes down, the scene is always the same, instant saturation news coverage, constant images of the shocked townspeople who can't believe that quiet guy could do this. We're outraged, we're least for a few minutes. We pound our fists and demand that someone be brought to justice. We content ourselves with burying the dead and looking for clues in hindsight. Maybe we scratch around in the trailer dirt and figure out the specific string of triggers that set our latest shooter off. We are missing the big picture and missing the point. We never get down to cause and effect. To do that would require holding a mirror up to ourselves, and that has never been this country's strong suit. Instead, we shake our heads in disbelief, shudder a little as we run off to the next obligation. Meanwhile the kids take the shooting game off pause and "kill a few more guys."


Victoria said...

I agree with a lot of your points Kristy. I think we are going to have a very interesting book club discussion in April!

Anonymous said...

Okay, Kristy, it's March 29, 18 days since your last post. What's up with that? Seriously though, as I read your post, CNN is reporting that 8 people have been shot dead at a NURSING HOME! The violence seems to get worse every week. I think normal, mentally stable folks should be able to buy firearms, but we've gotta keep em out of the hands of psychos. Well that's my 2 cents worth. See ya around. -Matthew Killorin

Matthew K. said...

Just me again. I had trouble with my password when I posted my comment. Wanted you to have my info.