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Diane & Peter


Just Another Shooting
May 1st, Kansas City: Some thoughts about the latest shooting
We all saw it in the news, there was a shooting at a FedEx facility near Atlanta. Well, another shooting ... we slowly should get used to it, but ... how can humans get used to such a thing? So, this tine, the shooter is Caucasian, 19 year old, a college graduate basically working as a packager since he graduated. Neighbors, school mates, essentially everybody who knew him describe him as quiet, polite and mostly inconspicuous. There is exactly one picture of him in the yearbook and most of the people who shared till 2013 classes with him didn't even remember him.
Now, this quiet and polite guy went to his workplace and injured six people with a shot gun. Everybody is suprised, the political agitators call already again for gun control, and be it only to avoid the real important question, the media community is in a feeding frenzy and things are hot. Well, till the next news hit, till the next shooting. And the same questions as asked in the last three shootings will be asked again and again. Questions, nobody really wants to answer.
And no, this is not about gun control. Geddy Kramer, dubbed the "Rambo gunman" by "creative" journalists, carried also several Molotov cocktails with him. He didn't use them, he had a shotgun. Stricter gun control would have prevented the shotgun and made him use the Mollies. So, if you prefer to be burnt to death by firebombs instead of being shot, go for gun ban discussions, be my guest.
No, I want to have a look at this and other shooters. We had a number of them over the last few years. From the rather delusional pseudo-political motivated Jared Loughner via James Holmes, the Aurora shooter, Adam Lanza in Newton, Aaron Alexis in the Washington DC Navy Yard shooting, Anthony Cianca at the Los Angeles Airport shooting and now, Geddy Kramer. It is hard to deny, the lone shooter is on the move everywhere.
Now, what do all of those shooters have in common? Mental issues, some say and by all means, they wouldn't be wrong. Only, this is not precise enough. Rage, burning uncontrolled rage, born from the idea, nobody listens to them, all too often, nobody even notices them. Be it Loughner's political ramblings that found no response, be it Adam Lanza who spent his life playing video games because he had no real life and his only reference person was hundreds of miles away or now Geddy Kramer who went to school with hundreds of other kids and almost none of them remembers Kramer.
One has to admit, it is hard and in cases like Loughner, quite annoying to deal with the delusional pseudo-political agendas of people or the permanent ideas of how bad is their life, but take a look at Kramer. This guy graduated from college and now he worked as packer in a FedEx facility. One can of course say, it's better than no job. But try for a moment to imagine his feelings. He spent years at school for THAT? And worse, his outloook for the future was as bland. Every second college graduate will not find a job in his field of study. They put in years of effort, work, limited resources while others earn already money, all in the hope to earn later more. When those hopes are disappointed, everything else but a certain degree of rage would be unnatural. And this is where the circle closes. For whatever reason, once this rage is built up, any little spark is enough to start it. It is not a question, whether this spark is real or only a percieved tort. Once this pile of rage is burning hot, justification is only a word that doesn't really matter anymore. Especially, since most of those cases include the planning of their own death, so by all means, what happens afterwards is on that level as uninteresting to the shooter as it can be. James Holmes is in the list above the only one, who had actually an exit strategy, all other planned to go down in a hail of bullets or to commit suicide.
We live in a raging society.

Just some spreekillers, nothing new

Look at the Yahoo boards for example, on Twitter, basically everywhere. Social media are a good indicator but the effect isn't limited to them. People are ready all the time to go on each other's throat. The whole country is as polarized as it can be before we get officially Civil War. This hate on each other, pushed by politicians for their own gain makes people ready to fight and if necessary kill each other every day.
You think, this is exxagerating? Then think about this. Every social movement has a fringe. And things are always extremer on a fringe. We have political movements, we have religous movements, we have, of course, anti-religious movements and we haver, aside of those obvious movements, what I like to call social tendencies, which to some degree are quite similair to official movements. A lot of people have lost hope. They have no outlook to a brighter future anymore. They are desperate, they are angry. And since they can't do anything about it, the helplessness causes even more rage. It piles up. When a manager denied Geddy Kramer a vacation day on Saturday, he still skipped work on Saturday. Means, on Sunday, he knew, he would probably lose even that mediocre job on Monday. So he skipped Monday again and on Tuesday, in the early morning, he appeared wearing a vest, black clothes and an ammo belt over his chest, armed with shotgun and Molotov cocktails. Not really because of that vacation day, he was denied. But because the denial and his own actions afterwards led to another little pile up of rage that finally was the straw breaking the camel's back. Just as Lanza went for a shooting after a minimal stressor, just like Holmes, just like Cianca and just like Alexis. I could continue this list.
So, if you want to solve anything, you don't need to talk about gun bans. The whole gun ban discussion is like sticking a finger in a whole in a dam and believing that would solve the problem. Like water will find a way pass that obstacle, humans will find simply other ways to find. Tendency and the latest cases show, explosives and incentiary devices became quite popular.
No, if you want to change anything, you have to talk about society. This rage, it could be recognized, long before something bad happens. But it is ignored because nobody cares. By all means, it's the rage of somebody else. Another man's problem, as good as invisible to all his surroundings. And, in logical consequence and despite all media frenzy, being shot by a gunman who snapped from it is also another man's problems.
Geddy Kramer had no real outlook at life, no hope for a better future. After he spent years in college. What do you think, he could be if not angry. He hid that anger. He hid that anger when, as usual in such jobs, the demand came to work more in the same time for a really low wage. He hid it not so much anymore, when he was denied that vacation day, unjustified or not, the rage was there. So the signs were on the wall. Not explicitly for a shooting but it was clear, something, from quitting the job to giving up and going out with a bang, was about to happen.
The signs are there, always. Jared Lougher stopped to talk about his delusional political theories weeks before the shooting. Holmes contacted his shrink and gave hints.
Lanza became totallly withdrawn even more than before. But nobody reacted. Nobody noticed, something was going on. And as long as everybody ignores those signs on the wall, what, honestly, what do you expect to happen? The responsibilty is with us, the society, to look out for each other. Especially the people around those piling up that kind of rage. Ignorance is only an excuse up to a certain point.
At the end, lets go into another thought. There are those mass shooters, they are out there since a long time. The Columbine shooting was in 1999, fifteen years ago. Brenda Ann Spencer fired from killed two and injured eight in Cleveland in 1979, thirty-five years ago. This is all not new. Media and people in general compare those spree shooters often to serial killers. And whyile they are right in many aspects, there is a profound difference: The spree shooters are driven to a single loud and flashy violent action and they try usually to give hints before they leash out. Serial killers on the other hand do everything in thier power to cover-up what they are and set out for long careers. So on this level and this level only, we talk about a different kind of animal. That opens the door to act before people get killed. But to do so, we have, as society, to find a consensus how to deal with the problem and if needed introduce the necessary laws. Right now, this is impossible because the gun ban or not ban discussion has taken over the stage and prevents any senseful discussion about any other issues connected with the problem of spree shooters. Which means, we will get more of the same, we will see more victims, at workplaces, at schools, in public places like cafés and restaurants and wherever it fits the next spree shooters. We will see an increase in knife stabbings and the use of explosives includign firebombs. We will see shootings inside of so-called security zones because security is often just an illusion. And we will see more of it where the offenders can expect the biggest media frenzy, be it by location (see Aurora) or the kind of potential victim (school shootings, shootings in public involving celebrities and politicians as potential victims). So ask yourself, can we afford to let this go on the way we do now?

- PB -
... back
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Wed, Mar 4, 2015
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Thu, Aug 14, 2014
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Thu, May 1, 2014
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Thu, Dec 12, 2013
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Copyright if not otherwise mentioned Peter and Diane Brendt 2010-. All copies, also in parts, demand the written consent of the copyright holders