The Virginia Tech shootings: why are people so surprised?
Forgive me for asking this question, but why on earth is everyone seemingly so surprised that another crazed gunman took aim at innocent people? Considering the number of easily obtainable guns, and the lack of easily obtainable treatment for people with mental health issues, I am surprised we don't see these kinds of bloodbaths on a more regular basis. Also, to be surprised at this time in the year is completely ludicrous as well.
It's Hitler's Birthday on the 20th. Remember the Columbine shootings? They were done in "honor" of Hitler's Birthday. Remember the bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City? That was done in honor of Hitler's Birthday. The list goes on.
Even when it's not Hitler's birthday, there are still more than enough nutcases in this country, and more than enough easily obtainable guns to keep the blood flowing.
I am not going to get into the gun rights debate. It's a debate that can't be won. There are good points on both sides of the debate. Besides, it's not about the guns, it's about the lunatics that can get their hands on them with considerable ease. Even if they stopped manufacturing new guns today, there would be an ample supply available until the sun became a red giant and toasted the Earth in the process. Of course, the same can't be said for ammunition, but you can rest assured that as long as there is a United States of America, there will be companies making rounds!
The specter of mindless violence like that we saw today will never leave this country. There is no way. We are way too in love with guns for that to happen. We are also way too into glorification of the gun. We are also not very much into treating the mental illnesses that underlie so many of these wanton and reckless attacks of mindless death and destruction.
That's a potent and deadly mix. How could it be otherwise?
On a daily basis, there is some story about someone dying at the business end of a gun. Whether it's a gang war, a drug deal gone south, marital woes, or a crazed lunatic taking out a dozen or so people before he takes himself out, the stories never stop. Perhaps, because I live in Dallas, a city that spent some time as a murder capital, I have a unique perspective on this issue. While I realize that Dallas isn't unique in the US when it comes to gun-related deaths, the fact that Dallas is in Texas, a place where we dearly love our firearms, especially the hand-gun variety, it just seems that there are more people dying here of gunshot wounds than for just about any other reason.
Perhaps it's for this reason alone that the news of the shootings at Virginia Tech are not even close to a surprise. Hell, just yesterday, some crazed a**hole shot his two daughters and then himself. I am sure there will be a story on tonight's news about someone or other who was killed by a high velocity copper-coated lead projectile. As sure as I am sitting here when I should be in bed, tomorrow will dawn with news of another gun murder in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Hell, there might be a couple.
That's just the American way.
So can we please drop the false sense of outrage and surprise when the number of people killed at one time is over five? The only difference between the death of three and the death of ten is the number of shell casings left at the scene of the crime. The intent is the same. The motivation is the same. The lunacy that would fuel multiple deaths is the same. The only thing that differs is the number of corpses taken to the morgue; that's all!
If there is real outrage, then let's prove it! Improve the mental health system in this country. That will go miles in putting a dent into the problem of rampant gun deaths in this country. Since there is no way that the NRA is going to disappear tomorrow, we need to address the problem in another way. The best way to do that is to make mental health services available to all. Getting rid of the stigma attached to mental health issues might help, too. Throwing the idea of glorifying the gun might not be a bad idea, either.
However, I don't see that happening. The core of our beliefs would have to completely change. That's simply not going to happen. We are in love with death, destruction, and mayhem. The state of the "entertainment" industry should be proof enough of this. How many movies are being released that aren't drenched in blood? Not nearly as many as those that are! How many shoot-'em-up video games are there on the market?80-90%?
As long as we keep teaching how to kill, people are going to kill. As long as we keep pretending there isn't a mental health crisis in this country, people are going to continue rampage killing. As long as we glorify the gun, and solving problems at the business end of that gun, the blood will continue to flow. How could it be otherwise?
In the words of Joseph Stalin: "The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic." In the case of rampage murders in this country, those deaths are both tragedies and statistics at the same time. If we don't do something to fix the problem, the statistics are going to keep on growing. The tragedies will continue to mount until we come to a point where the surprise de jour isn't rampage murder followed by the inevitable suicide of the one doing the rampage, it will be the lack of such mindless blood-letting!