Meanwhile, less prominently, there is some discussion about the young man who did it. Sadly, most people are still mystified about his motive. Why would anyone do this? The event is so horrible, that it's tempting to just cross the person off as crazy, mentally ill, or some kind of monster. Just looking at his picture can be really scary. Perhaps we feel safer to just distance ourselves from him. Build a wall between him and us and keep it there. It can be very challenging to look deeper into ourselves and find parallels between him and us. But I can't avoid thinking about it.
I remember how enraged I felt, and at the same time, hopeless. At home, I fantasized about killing the bullies with my bare hands. But at the same time, I was frightened because I was a skinny kid and could easily have been beaten up by the bigger kids. I knew somewhere deep inside that I truly did not want to be responsible for anybody's death. I realized that if I ever really killed anyone, my own life would be over (either literally or effectively) and I did not want to die. Also, my family did not believe in violence and did not own a gun. I had siblings and at least a few friends (so I wasn't completely isolated). There were problems in my family, but my parents never got divorced, incarcerated, or died while I was young. So, fortunately, I never did anything that drastic.
But somewhere in my bones, I understand the desperation, the rage, the hopelessness, the fury, and the resolve of these people.
What is really sad is that they represent the tip of the iceberg of desperate suicidal people today. I think that's our real epidemic. Many more people die from suicide than in school shootings. It's just that most people with suicidal thoughts don't actually go through with it, and of the many who do, most don't decide to take a whole lot of other people down with them. Our current culture of quiet stress, anxiety, and anger seldom makes any headlines. People just suffer or die, each one at a time, alone, every day.
This is the real tragedy. And this is what I think our work truly is from here on. To reform our culture, change our priorities. I say we must prioritize connection, support, and nurturing more than making a lot of money, living in a big house, or having the best toys. If we can do this, I think we'll all be better for it.