I haven't felt like writing for the last couple of days. Mostly I seem to write silly, lightweight stuff. I'm not a great philosopher, I'm not out to save or even try to change the world. If I give somebody a chuckle, that's success. But Monday, some 18 year old kid walked into the mall and blew away five people and put some pretty serious holes in four others before the police shot him dead. He didn't know any of the people he shot and nobody knows why he did it. No more details from me, read the newspaper article if you want details: http://www.sltrib.com/ci_5218341
Thank goodness I knew none of the victims. The tragedy feels too close already. I've been to Trolley Square many times, most of my friends have been there often too. Two friends have daughters who frequent the mall and they were pretty darned worried until they got hold of their girls and were assured they were all right, nowhere near the scene of the carnage.
Why does somebody do something like that? What could fill someone with so much hate that he kills another person, a person he doesn't know, just to kill someone? Are the people he kills real to him or are they just figures in a live action video game?
Anger and wanting to hurt someone I can understand. I doubt there's anyone who has a sibling that hasn't at sometime wanted to knock their block off. When I was a kid, I hit my brother and sister more than once, and I wanted to hit them a whole lot more often than I ever did. But I never really hurt them, never left bruises or caused pain that lasted for more than the instant of infliction. There have been times I've wanted to pop the Engineer. Never have, though. That's why I keep my baseball bat in the back corner of the farthest away closet in the basement behind mounds of stuff -- I figure by the time I could dig it out, the mad would have worn off to the point I wouldn't use it. So far I haven't, so my strategy must work.
To want to do violence to a person you don't even know baffles me. I can see wanting to slap President Bush or Rush Limbaugh upside the head -- maybe knock a little sense into them -- but I would never do it. And it's not like they're strangers to me, I know who they are and I don't like them, more to the point, I don't like the things they do and say, so it wouldn't be anonymous. That urge I will never act on wouldn't be randomly directed. It's not the Secret Service that stops me from considering it for real, it's my conscience. There have been a few occasions that I've been in a crummy mood to start with and flipped off some idiot who made a stupid move while they were driving, and yeah, I've described their ancestry and personal habits under my breath and wished for an instant traffic cop to sic on 'em. But never would I actually take physical action against them.
How could I live with myself if I hurt or killed another person?
Of course that kid at Trolley Square doesn't have to live with himself, the police took care of that. Maybe that's what his final intention was. If so, he sure chose a lousy way to accomplish it.