Sunday, April 18, 2021

The Other Victims

      In the aftermath of a mass killing, there's an understandable and appropriate focus on the victims, on the lives cut short and the people injured.

      But the damage ripples outward from there, to the families who have lost loved ones, to those sitting vigil at local hospitals -- and even to the killer's family.

      The FedEx shooter had given warning signs, including a mental health incident a year earlier in which he had purchased a shotgun and talked about "blue suicide" so seriously that his family called the police and had him temporarily taken into psychiatric care.  His shotgun was taken by police and not returned.  The FBI investigated.  But in a state with a "red flag" law that would have prevented his buying another gun, he was never red-flagged.  There's no report of any ongoing care for whatever problems haunted him.

      Now his family has to live with that; they have to ask themselves what else they might have done, what they could or should have done.  They're dealing with police and reporters, coworkers and friends; and online, in the newspaper and on TV, the faces of the victims.

      The harm spreads and spreads.  It's not limited to the dead and wounded.

1 comment:

Mike V said...

If it was bad enough for the police or FBI to take his shotgun, it was worth taking him for an emergency psychiatric evaluation and a 72 hour stay. That would have made him a prohibited person.