The Connecticut school shooting stopped me in my tracks, stopped us all, twenty-seven dead, twenty of them little innocent children. Where do we go from here? Heaven or hell just got closer to us today. Take your pick.
Soon the questions will begin. How? Why? What? The media circus will trot the endless stream of political, social, religious and psychological experts out to say their piece. We’ll watch, we’ll listen, I’m afraid that at the end of the day we won’t know a lot more than we do today. We’ll know the life story of the shooter, the remorse of his kin, the irony of his once seemingly balanced life, the telltale disturbing signs of his fall from the all too thin shelf called, moral order.
I think I know the answers to five questions about what happened today in that school.
1. Why do people commit mass killings? Historically people kill for power and control. Some people kill simply because they can. This boy probably killed for fame.
2. What can we learn from knowing his story? Nothing. His story is ultimately irrelevant.
3. What can we do to prevent this from happening again? Nothing.
4. Who should we blame? No one and everyone. We all swim in the same water. It’s our pool.
5. What does it all mean? Not much. Fame is now all consuming.
Norman Mailer called his success, “That bitch goddess fame.” We’re on a roller coaster ride that’s fast and loud, exhilarating and often crazy. We are addicted to the thrills. One thrill is the gun, another is the photograph of us on the ride with the gun, yet another is the sound and fury of the crowd. They are chanting, “Fame…Fame…Fame.” The roller coaster ride is getting faster. The riders are scared, but they won’t get off. It’s the thrill that holds them now more than ever. The crowds scream, their eyes glazed.
There are far too many guns in this world. They don’t disintegrate with age, like plastic or paper or prayers and hopes. They are always guns from the day they are made, forever more.
It is quiet in that school room in Connecticut tonight, the circus riders distant for a time, the chant a momentary whisper on the wind. Outside the door stand the parents waiting to take their children from this place, waiting to be good parents one last time. They are gaunt and silent, now frozen in time beside their children’s lifeless forms, forever more.