So many thoughts... where to begin.
Since yesterday I've been listening to 940 News on the radio constantly while I'm in the car. I listened for over an hour this morning due to the all the traffic. I normally don't like talk or call-in shows, but there is good information and viewpoints to be heard after an event like this. Even if it means wading through so many other viewpoints that seem off subject or biased. Here are a couple examples.
One person called in and blamed it on long waiting times for psychological care and the long waiting times for medical care in general. When the host pointed out that the shooter had no previous record of trouble and had not asked for psychological care, the caller suggested it was because the waiting times frighten people away from seeking care. The host politely moved on to the next caller.
Another caller stated that it was due to the internet and video games. He also stated that heavy metal music is getting a bad rapp. He's in his forties and has been listening to it all his life and he's a well adjusted person. I agree with him that a video game based on Columbine is a ridiculous idea and should banned. I also agree that point the finger at music is not the silver bullet. But I didn't see eye-to-eye on the internet. The host pressed him on this subject and he explained that he hates the internet and has only limited access to it. He said he didn't understand it. It's an interesting point because it always seems to be the things that are less understood that the general population points the finger at.
Another topic brought up was that someone should have seen it coming by reading his blog or looking at his photo page. They could have notified the authorities before. I'm not so sure about that. First, take a look at his photo page (if it is still available). In my eye, nothing screams that this is a violent person. It comes across as posturing. There is no shortage of people out there that do this, but should we investigate everytime somebody makes a threatening gesture in a photo or on the street. Yes, he has many pictures where he does this, but it does follow along with punk/goth subculture. And some of the captions are less than threatening. On a picture where he has his fist cocked to punch the camera, the caption says:"I'm gonna punch you... kidding, but I'll hug you (and poke you in your belly) hee hee" On another where he has his trench coat on and holding the rifle, the caption says "Where are my boots?" since he is in his socks. I'm only pointing this out because with my untrained eye the joking around takes away from the suggestion that he is about to go out and do what he did. There's not enough for me to notify the authoritied immediately. But again, I am not trained to recognize these things.
Ben at the Instigator brought up the topic of policing the blogosphere. The morning radio also asked if administrators or fellow readers could check their patrons to guard against it. But this was the case even before the internet. The internet is no different that the real world, it's just a new extension of society. People have missed the signs when they work alongside someone. It has always been, "Johnny always seemed a bit depressed and he had those satanic tattoos, but I never thought." That's the thing. At what point does characteristics like those suggest someone capable of something like this. And if we point out to authorities everyone with some of those characteristics, we would become a paranoid society.
I'm not suggesting these types of events are not preventable. Nor am I saying we can prevent all of them. But these knee-jerk silver bullets are not the answer. Vigilance, keeping our eyes open and informed would be the best route. We may all be a bit jumpy for a while like after 9-11, but common sense needs to be taken if any measures are taken to try to prevent something like this happening again.
Lastly, as far as fortifying our schools. I think this is the wrong approach. As an expert on the radio stated, it only provides a false sense of security. He suggested the best line of defense was for teachers and parents to get to know the children they interact with. Maybe those of us in the work world can heed the same advice. Get to know those around you. Talk to that quiet guy in the corner. Or even out in public. There are angry people out there, don't let them get to you and don't propogate that anger. It can be a vicious circle. Show courtesy and kindness in the face of aggression. If someone is less than polite, let them go. Water off a ducks back. Or even when you don't encounter anger or aggression. Everyone walks away feeling good about each other.
OK, enough rambling. Back to work.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
So many thoughts... where to begin.