Ironically, right after I posted my gun conspiracy blog, we had our very own local school shooting here in the Portland metro area. A high school freshman who was armed to the teeth entered Reynolds High School in Troutdale, OR, killed a fellow student and wounded a teacher and then, once he realized police were entering the school, shot himself.
What scared me just as much as the event itself was my reaction to it. I held my breath in horror as I listened to the breaking news coming in on my radio at work. But then, as I learned the extent of the shooting, I breathed a sigh of relief. “Oh good. Only two people dead.” I caught my own reaction and was horrified all over again. This is how used I’ve become to a world of spectacular acts of violence. I expect to hear of 20, 30 dead–otherwise it’s not as big of a deal. These are two individuals gone, one because of a random attack, the other seemingly because of mental illness. Their families are grieving, the teenage boys won’t get a future, but hey, this was only a “small” shooting.
I can’t say that I really have good answers to any of the questions here. Guns are a part of the problem, but only one part. Clearly something inside of the kids leads them to feel that taking multiple lives is an acceptable response to the situation they’re in. Something is broken there, but I don’t know how it can be fixed. But regardless of what we think the solution is, the one thing I do know is that we cannot allow ourselves to get used to these shootings. We can’t let them become a normal part of our daily life–although perhaps we already have.