Wednesday, November 11, 2009

When Will the Senseless Violence Stop?

Just in the past week:

Nov. 5: Army psychiatrist goes berserk and kills 13 and injures 30 fellow soldiers.

Nov. 6: Disgruntled former employee returns to engineering firm in Orlando, FL, where he was once employed, and kills one and injures five.

Nov. 10: Man marches into a drug testing center in Tualatin, OR (very close to us!), and kills his estranged wife and himself and injures two of her coworkers.

Washington DC sniper, John Allen Muhammad, was executed for the cold blood killing spree he carried out in 2002, which victimized 10 people.

Nov. 11: Three people were just found dead in an apparent murder-suicide in Bethany, Oregon (also very close to us).

Three thoughts:

1. The domestic violence killings in the Portland area remind me of my sister's dear friend and housemate Diana, who was killed by her psychotic, deranged husband one night, while she slept. He shot her in the head while she was asleep, and then shot himself. My sister learned of this when she saw Diana's house on the news that night. Nadine had been her matron of honor, and we all attended the wedding. Her husband, Kane, had been insanely jealous and clearly unbalanced. Something tipped him over the edge, and no one saw it coming.

2. While driving with Chris yesterday, we were listening to NPR and heard the story about John Allen Muhammad's execution. Chris asked me what the "DC sniper" was, and I told him. I asked him what he thought about the death penalty, and he commented that he thought it made sense if the person had committed murder. I then gently tried to point out that I didn't believe that we as humans had the right to put another person to death...and the death penalty is frequently unjust in the way it is implemented. I told him that I had done a research paper about the death penalty when I was in high school. I also said that I might feel differently if one of my loved ones had been murdered.

3. Where, in all of this senseless violence, is the discussion about gun control? (If people are discussing it, they are doing it very quietly.) Every single killing listed above was committed with a gun. I think the lack of discussion about gun control shows that we have become immune to violence. That and the the fact that the Democratic Party is afraid to face the NRA lobbyists. Has we accepted insane, senseless violence as de rigeur in our society? If not, why not question the ease with which violent Americans can procure and use guns?

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