I’m charging boldly into uncomfortable territory today: I’m going to relate the school massacre in Newtown to the rise in terrorism globally. I’m going to be looking at it from the perspective of the terrorist/shooter as a victim. There are uncomfortable truths here for us as a society.
Much has been said over the last few days on this issue. We talk about gun control. We talk about school security. We talk about straw-man causes like violence in movies or video games. These are comfortable things we can talk about incessantly. Taking positions on them can even make us feel better.
Partly this is because we’re talking about the obvious victims: the innocent victims. They play only a pseudo random part in this scene. They are all important individuals that we rightly mourn, but they are also all “replaceable” in the sense that their involvement is due to their being randomly in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But increasingly, we, as a society, have driven people to extreme acts: either though action or inaction. In the case of terrorists, we have generated a world in which they feel they don’t have a place and their act of desperation is partly in protest of this. It’s more complex than I can cover in one blog entry — and I’m not sure I even have the right to pretend to understand. Understanding other than the fact that the “world” has allowed or even cause these conditions to exist.
In the case of the shooter, I’m sure it is similarly complex, but the fundamental fact remains: we permit this woeful set of circumstances to exist. For whatever set of reasons that led to this act… we failed to treat his illness or harbor his problems or help him in the way he so desperately needed.
I am deliberately making this an active or positive responsibility. We (as a people, of the world) are generating terrorists and disaffected people at an alarming rate. Handling the aftermath with additional gun control or school security or removal of shoes before boarding a plane: It’s all too late.