A lot of us are discussing our feelings and thoughts surrounding the Virginia Tech murders that took place yesterday. I have a slightly different view of what happened in Virginia. I actually feel incredibly heartbroken for the family of the shooter and even the shooter himself. That does not take away at all from the families who lost students and faculty and staff unexpectedly. But a deep part of me really feels pain for this loner who signed the log of his class attendance sheet with a question mark instead of his name.
I don't know that I view him as the monster psycho that he is being made out to be. I feel very deeply for him. For some reason, whatever his plight, I feel moved by where he ended up and found himself. A resident alien who came here as a child, probably encouraged by parents to succeed! Be the best! Do your best! Do not fail!
All the while, he most likely struggled with some severe mental illnesses that people tried to address, tried to fix with therapy and medication.
Our society has torn down the walls of institutions, which in some ways sure is great. People who used to be segregated and kept out of society by hospitalization have a great deal to offer those of us who are "neurotypical" or "okay."
But sometimes... there are cases, where people should be away from society, not in the middle of a college campus or a suburban high school trying to fit in, desperately. Or maybe he wasn't. Who knows.
Regardless, this individual sounds like he needed far more help than a pill or outpatient therapy can ever give. While he took the lives of many who most likely did nothing to him, didn't deserve their fates, I don't know that he desereved his either.
I know I cannot read too much into it, I cannot apply what I think of my son and what he may turn out to be like when he is 23.
But all I can think about right now for this guy is what happened to him. How did he get there? Who was in his life? Were there active participants in his mental health? Were there bullies and teasers and people who tortured him? What makes a person get to this place?
In addition to my son, I now look at all the kids, all the boys and girls coming up with both of my kids, and I wonder what is going on in their lives, and wonder who they will become. or Only God knows in the end which ones of us are to crumble to darkness, and which are to rise to shine in power.
I feel deeply for this man's parents. Middle class dry-cleaners who probably wanted the best for their child. Like I want the best for mine. Like you want the best for yours if you are a parent. Like you want the best for kids around you if you are not a parent, because in 20 years, these are the people who hopefully will not be making headlines but will be making differences.
How must his parents feel? Do they blame themselves? Do they question decisions they made when he was 11? Medications? Treatment? Choices?
I don't know. All I know is that the news is filled with the extrordinary tales of what the murdered students were like, and sad tales of what the shooter was like.
And it breaks my heart for all involved.
My husband said something tonight that made me wish he kept his own blog, because I know I cannot do it justice in the retelling... We were watching the news this evening, and he said that he actually isn't surprised or troubled by this event the way everyone else is. He said that the fire at the Station Nightclub in Rhode Island a few years ago disturbed him more deeply.
I asked him to expound, and he said that it does not shock or overwhelm him when people go on these rampages. The way he was brought up, he expects that there is evil in the world. To steal from the chimp in chief, there really ARE "evil doers" and they show themselves when we least expect it. And this man, this is someone who succumbed to evil. No matter what was done to try and help him.
It doesn't shock Doug that someone went and bought a gun and shot a mess of people. If it wasn't a gun, he'd rampage with chemical bombs or explosives he learned to make off the internet, or a steak knife. His hand would be used to weild death, no matter the weapon. What is more shocking is in this day and age dozens of inspectors and authorities are able to turn a blind eye to a firetrap of a little nightclub where several dozen people were doomed to die trying to claw over one anothers bodies. That bureaucracy and payola and small town politics reign when laws or just plain damn common sense would have pointed to the building and said 'um, yeah. This place is going to burn if someone even THINKS of smoking a cigarette inside, not to mention a band shoots off pyro on stage."
That is more shocking to him. And in some ways, he sure is right.
In closing, because I'm conflicted and sad for everyone, I recall a very old song by Peter Gabriel called "Family Snapshot." The song examines an assassination from the viewpoint of the shooter, really getting into the mindset of the character in question. It is one of the most moving songs, and one of the reasons I love Peter Gabriel so much, because he is able to take a topic and view it from the non-conventional point. I almost used part of this song for my quote of the moment, instead of "Subdivisions" by Rush, but both songs lend so well to where my mind is right now and I needed to include both.
It is the only song I know that truly manages to sum up what must have been in the mind of someone who is aiming to kill another, someone who has made that decision, crossed that threshold. Like the shooter in Virginia... and this is how the song ends...
"I don't really hate you - I don't care what you do
We were made for each other, me and you.
I want to be somebody, you were like that too
If you don't get given you learn to take and I will take you."
Holding my breath, Release the catch, And I let the bullet fly...
All turned quiet-I have been here before
Lonely boy hiding behind the front door
Friends have all gone home
There's my toy gun on the floor
Come back Mum and Dad
You're growing apart
You know that I'm growing up sad
I need some attention.
I shoot into the light.