Wednesday hit with a thud at mid-afternoon, when TV news devolved into the kind of close attention given to a disturbed killer that disturbed killers crave--
The predictable talk of "too many guns" and "violent video games" and so on followed; they are cheap and easy things to blame but boys have always played violent games (remember cap guns and tin soldiers?) and this country has long had widespread firearm availability and ownership. What nags me is that no one seems to much care about identifying and maybe even straightening out the killers before they strike. There's a pattern of torturing small animals, of social alienation, threats of violence and so on that appears to be common to many people who later commit horrific crimes, and it is largely ignored. Instead, there's a focus on the means -- guns for mass shooting, the hardware of imprisonment for abductors -- or the victims (who indeed rate attention) or the now-outre personality and behavior of the criminal.
Where was all that when the kid was a Cub Scout? Where was the concern when he kept tripping fire alarms? It it enough to expell a child with behavioral problems from school, and let the wider world deal with them?
For every person who commits a headline-grabbing crime like this, a few dozen more are committing lesser violent crimes; or among the homeless, and perhaps preying on their fellows. If we're determined to be "doing something," let's direct our energies at people, not objects.
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