Blood On Our Hands
Yet another unspeakable act of violence and horror has played out on an American school campus. This time the slaughter comes amid the tranquil rolling hills of West Central Oregon and the quiet beauty of Umpqua Community College. It is a picturesque setting that will forever be stained with the blood of murdered students and haunted by the usual questions of why does this happen?
The talking heads meanwhile chatter and regurgitate the same old and now familiar lines of an active shooter, carnage, students running for their lives and a community in shock. How did we ever get here? How did human life become so worthless to so many people that the wanton destruction of others lives means so little?
I think in large part you have to look at the destruction of the American family, which began in earnest in 1965. The first truly notable public mass shooting came in 1966 when Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the University of Texas clock tower and began picking people off at random. When it was over 16 people were dead and another 32 wounded. A war scene had come to an American university.
Other mass killings have grabbed the nations attention from time to time. The McDonalds massacre in San Ysidro, California in July 1984 where 21 died and 19 were shot and injured, Lubby’s cafeteria in Killeen Texas later that year when 23 were shot and killed and 27 more gunned down. I could list others but you’ve heard them all too.
Then in 1999 it all changed when Columbine High School in Colorado became the target of two deranged students, bent on retaliation and vengeance. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebolt opened fire on their classmates killing 12 and injuring 21 more. Ever since that day it seems that schools became free game for psychos to attack. In Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007 Seung- Hui Cho, a senior at Virginia Tech University, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17. In Newtown Connecticut in December of 2012 Adam Lanza began shooting and in the end murdered 20 elementary kids and 6 teachers.
Todays mass killing occurred once again in a strict specified gun free zone. In fact the campus security guards were not even permitted to carry firearms. Umpqua Community College is in a remote location and students having been rendered legally defenseless were in effect sitting ducks for this maniac. It took law enforcement officials several minutes to arrive on the scene and by the time they arrived there were already numerous fatalities and injuries.
The question I have today is what is wrong with us? I believe these tragedies are anchored in policies that devalue human life. Violent movies, music and video games all contribute to this mind set in my estimation. Abortion and assisted suicide contribute as well but to me it really all comes back to the destruction of the family. When I grew up I was taught a healthy respect for guns from my father. My mother echoed those sentiments about guns whenever he wasn’t around.
We played war, cops and robbers and cowboys and Indians. Those things by the way didn’t raise the propensity of me to stick up banks or kill Native Americans and I certainly didn’t wander into my school and start shooting my classmates. You see all of my make believe games were well grounded in my home. My parents taught me right and wrong and how to behave.
Today I wonder how this happened. Now I am learning he was asking students religions before he executed them.
I have mixed feelings to say the least. So many emotions running wild.