A thought struck me when I saw a Louisiana mass shooting headline in my news reader today. Actually a bunch of thoughts.
First I thought, "Ugh, not another one."
Then I pragmatically thought, "Well, at least he killed himself so there’s one less crazy person in the world."
Then I got mad at the shooter for not having the courage of his own convictions. I’m generally a "if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime" kind of person. So this shooter annoyed me for "cheating" and avoiding his punishment.
But then I thought the shooter probably didn’t have any convictions, and he probably just wanted attention. Then I got mad at him for just being stupid. What’s the point of getting attention if you’re not going to stick around to see it?
Then I thought that he must have thought that if he killed himself while he thought he was going to get attention, then he’d save himself from the burden of finding out that he really didn’t get any attention, because bloggers like me aren’t putting his name in their blog. So in a way killing himself assured his own success. So then I got mad at him again because now he was cheating by insulating himself from the possibility of failure that the rest of us have to face all the time.
Then I figured maybe I should actually read some details about the case before I make all these snap judgments.
Well, it wasn’t a random shooting spree like the headline led us to believe. It looks like there was a clear cause-and-effect in this case.
Then I got depressed because it’s one of those cases where all of the warning signs were there, but we can’t arrest people in this country for behaving like they might be dangerous. We have to wait for them to commit actual crimes before we can lock them up. Which I guess is one of the down sides of a free society. In this one area, the oppressive dictatorships that squash all human rights probably have us beat.
There should be a lesson to learn from this, but I’m not sure what it would be. I guess if you know someone acting like they might be dangerous, don’t expect the police to protect you. Everyone is ultimately responsible for their own safety.
I’m still mad at the shooter though. Something about murder-suicides particularly infuriates me. It’s like they’re "getting away with it" somehow.
But from a practical standpoint, it’s probably best for society as a whole if the shooter just goes ahead and kills himself. It would just be nice if they did it before shooting anyone.