It was tragic to see the events that occurred this past Friday at the movie theater in Aurura, Colorado. Unfortunately these events are happening all too frequently in this country. There was the Tower Massacre at the University of Texas in 1966, the Columbine High School shooting in 1999, the 9/11 Attacks (though not done by Americans), VA Tech shootings in 2007, the Fort Hood shootings and the Tucson shootings last year and now this one.
After watching hours of media coverage, there are a few things that have caught my attention that make all of these very similar. First, in the end, it turns out that the suspects all are classified with the same personalities. They are quiet loners, few or no friends, were bullied as kids and usually intelligent individuals. In the last case, the individual (I will not name him here), dropped out of his PhD program and became obsessed with online role playing games. It seems like there are warning signs with almost all of these cases that go undetected. My question is where are the parents? Are we that caught up with our own lives and hectic schedules that we don’t notice changes in our children? Are we that out of touch? Are we too crazed trying to take care of multiple kids, careers, or house that we don’t notice? It is even more alarming that it is rumored that the suspect’s mother said that they had the right person. Did she know something that everyone else did not? Was she too busy or just ashamed to speak up?
The second thing that always surprises me is the way the media covers these individuals. We must have heard his name at least 1,000 times in the last day. We have heard several doctors and criminal profilers define and classify him. In the end, this individual succeeded and got what he wanted. He hurt dozens of individuals in order to make himself feel better for the hurt that he felt for some unknown reason. He is also finally being noticed and getting the attention that he has strived for. I wonder if this is because of a lack of attention as a child. We need to be cautious of the way we almost sensationalize these events. If these individuals received no attention for carrying out these heinous crimes would they opt not to plan it? And would others try to copy? It also seems that each of these events escalate in severity almost as if the individual wants to be bigger and better than the last.
The third thing is that during the coverage of these events we rarely hear the names of the victims even though we hear the suspect’s name 1000s of times. Maybe we should focus on these individuals instead. We should try to learn who they were and who try to support their families. I would much rather name these individuals than to even name the suspect once:
Jonathon Blunck – 26, Alexander Boik – 18, Jesse Childress – 29, Gordan Cowden – 51, Jessica Ghawi – 24, John Larimer – 27 , Matt Mcquinn – 27, Micayla Medek – 23, Veronica Moser – 6, Alex Sullivan – 27, Alexander Teves – 24, Rebecca Wingo – 32
Finally, I wonder how an individual is able to amass thousands of dollars of firearms, ammo, tear gas and body armor over the internet without raising a red flag. This individual wore more body armor than our troops do in combat. Between the companies that sold these items, the credit card company that monitors transactions and our Dept. of Homeland Security that monitors the internet for terror threats, this went unnoticed. I find it hard to believe in this day and age that something like this went completely undetected.
It is up to us as a country to come together in these times of tragedy and take a stand that we will not allow this type of behavior in our country. It is not gun control laws that allow for this, it is us as citizens of this country. We need to slow down in our daily lives and notice the people, things or events that are going on around us. Maybe if we do we can prevent something like this from happening in the future.