I am sad and angry, but I am not shocked.

I had wanted to write a funny post, and a post about my life post- being pressly freshed, but I don’t think today’s that day.  Some other time, hopefully sooner rather than later.


Another shooting.

I was a junior in high school when Columbine happened.  I was in my first year of grad school, living on the east coast when Virginia Tech happened.

I am no longer shocked when these things happen.  I stopped being shocked long ago.

I cringe when people/the media call school shootings “shocking,” because, to me, the word shocking implies that it was unexpected or we’re unable to understand what happened or why it happened – and that scares me.  To imply disbelief holds these events at arm’s length when we should be examining these public shooting phenomena under a microscope, from every angle.

The same goes for when people/the media call the shooter “a monster” or some other fantasy-like term.  To call someone a monster is to call ve an other – to distance that person for the sake of emotional protection.  If we claim an inability to explain or understand, then we’re able to wash our hands of the problem – because how can we fix something if we can’t or won’t understand it?

A third gripe is when people/the media say that the shooter “just snapped” as if this behavior, this decision to shoot people came out of frickin nowhere.  Human behavior is very predictable.  Our past behavior informs our future behavior.  There are always warning signs before someone gets to the point of going on one of these shooting sprees and I wish that instead of applying a grossly false and simplistic excuse, that we instead ask the question: what were the warning signs, and who ignored them?

I implore you to contribute to the dialogue around all this violence, because it’s going to take all of us to stop it, to prevent it.  I hope we stop blaming only guns, and stop calling for only gun control…or gun control and metal detectors…or gun control, metal detectors, and background checks.  I hope we stop dehumanizing the shooters and see them as human beings who we failed to help when they needed help the most.  I hope we work hard to reach out to people when we see them struggling with mental health issues – depression, violent tendencies, a lack of healthy coping skills, a lack of a healthy support system.

My bottom line is that we can’t ignore this problem or put bandaids on it any longer.  This virus is festering and spreading and I’m scared.  We must look at the root causes of this systemic violence and move towards prevention.

Today, I am very sad and angry, but I choose not to be shocked.


17 responses

  1. Pingback: We Have a Responsibility to Change | Psychobabble

  2. I’m on the other side of the pond and wrote about this, myself. It’s touched the world, not just the USA. I agree with what you’ve written – and there’s still a lot more for people to write about it. But I also think that so close to the event, it’s the grieving families that should be given the focus – and in that I include what remains of the family of the boy (as he was only 20) who shot them. Quite a horrible situation all round. :(

  3. I wrote two posts about this event… I didn’t say what you start out saying, but should have. I’ve said it dozens, maybe hundreds of times over the years: I wont be on on the news saying “I’m shocked” or “Things like this don’t happen here.” None of it shocks anymore. As you said, it just saddens me. Deeply. Very good points.

  4. A little bit of information has leaked about the parents, and apparently they were both sentenced to mandatory parenting classes during their divorce proceedings. You’re right, these people don’t snap. It’s a history that has built up over time, and eventually manifests itself into these horrible acts of violence.

  5. Pingback: Fox News bans guns in their day care centers for employees’ children. « power of language blog: partnering with reality by JR Fibonacci

  6. I wrote a four chapter short story on this exact subject about a month ago. People are incredibly hypocrit when it comes to this. You might find it interesting the similarities in psychological background I found in three different school shootings happened around the world. I’m on my phone now, so I’ll come back to give you the link later if you like?

  7. Your post makes the most sense of any thing I have read. It’s measured and based in a reality that isn’t knee jerk and reactionary.
    The question shouldn’t be why does this happen?
    It should be why doesn’t it happen more?

  8. We have to do everything we can. I heard on the radio today that many, many people fit the psychological profile of the people who end up committing these massacres. But most of them never pull a trigger.
    I believe in a fully funded mental health system, good programs to stop school bullying, and also, gun control. Lets address it all.

      • Oddly enough, today was my first day ever volunteering with a gun control group. I was in our state Capitol when the news broke. It was so surreal. It was very eye opening to see the reactions. It is so hard not letting on to my kid what is going on. I tend to be over honest and that makes her anxious, so I’m going to wait until she brings it up. Thank goodness school is out.

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