Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 7:21 AM

Now Newtown: Shooting Massacres USA !

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

A lone gunman reportedly opened fire at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut today, killing 20 children (ages 6-10) and six adults, before killing himself.  It only adds perversity to his motivating psychosis that among the adults he killed was his own mother.

For a little perspective, Yahoo News reports that:

It is the second worst mass shooting in U.S. history, exceeded only by the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 when 32 were killed before the shooter turned the gun on himself. Today’s carnage exceeds the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in which 13 died and 24 were injured.

Alas, shooting rampages are becoming a defining feature of life in America. Here, courtesy of Reuters and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is a list of others that occurred just this year:

  • April 2 – A gunman kills seven people and wounds three in a shooting rampage at a Christian college in Oakland.
  • July 20 – A masked gunman kills 12 people and wounds 58 when he opens fire on moviegoers at a showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado.
  • August 5 – A gunman kills six people during Sunday services at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, before he is shot dead by a police officer.
  • August 24 – Two people are killed and eight wounded in a shooting outside the landmark Empire State Building in New York City at the height of the tourist season.
  • September 27 – A disgruntled former employee kills five people and takes his own life in a shooting rampage at a Minneapolis sign company from which he had been fired.
  • October 21 – Three people are killed in a Milwaukee area spa including the estranged wife of the suspected gunman, who then killed himself.

Truth be told, the only wonder to me is that there aren’t many more.

Meanwhile, the response in each case plays out like a macabre version of Groundhog Day – complete with swat teams showing up brandishing their big guns (oblivious to the obvious irony) long after all of the killing is done; politicians mouthing patently hollow words about gun control; and reporters emulating the Bill Murray character by repeating the few basic facts ad nauseam, yet making it seem like BREAKING NEWS each time.

So in the only spirit this occasion seems to summon, I shall repeat myself too:

I don’t know why the media always reward these psychotic people by giving them the fame they covet; that is, by plastering their pathetic mugs all over television and on the front page of every major newspaper … worldwide, and reporting pop psychology about why and how they did their dastardly deeds. Isn’t it clear to see, especially in this age of instant celebrity, why some loser kid would find this route to infamy irresistible?

You’d think that – given the record of these psychotic and vainglorious episodes since Columbine – we would have figured out by now that the best way to discourage them is by focusing our attention on the victims and limiting what we say about the shooter to: May God have mercy on your soul as you burn in hell!

(“Massacre in Omaha,” The iPINIONS Journal, December 7, 2007)

I fully support strict gun-control laws. Nevertheless, I am convinced that no laws can prevent these kinds of human tragedies. In fact, incidents like this bring into stark relief the fact that it’s not guns, but insane and troubled people – with motives no one can possibly anticipate or comprehend – who commit mass murders.

(“Massacre at Virginia Tech,” The iPINIONS Journal, April 17, 2007)

That cynicism aside, my thoughts and prayers go out to all of the families affected by this latest rampage.

NOTE: If one troubled kid can cause this kind of national tragedy, disproportionate reaction, and emotional trauma, just imagine the tragedy, reaction, and trauma al-Qaeda terrorists could cause.  All they would have to do is target, in their signature simultaneous fashion, 10 to 20 Friday night high-school football games – where security would be low and the stands packed with thousands of unsuspecting kids … who would be like sitting ducks.

Related commentaries:
Media adding to tragedy
Arizona shooting rampage

* This commentary was published originally yesterday, Friday, at 9:02 pm

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