But is this tragedy a senseless one? From Columbine to the massacre on the Red Lake reservation, I've written about these shootings before. I've done my best to make sense of them.
Under the heading of violence, here are some postings on the subject:
Understanding America's violent ways:
America the warrior society War and violence "have been pervasive in American life and culture from this country's earliest days."
A Latin view of American-style violence The world notes our hyper-individualism and gunslinger mentality.
Some arguments for gun control A lone-gunman type displays America's obsession with its manhood.
The media is the gateway of American culture:
Highlights of the FTC report on media violence The mass media sells sex and violence constantly, 24/7.
Are parents responsible for their kids' violence? Try "troubled youth, toxic environment and peer dynamics."
SchoolRumors.com: a typical media influence How our culture inculcates aggression and hostility in kids.
We live in a violent cowboy culture. It was founded on the idea of a chosen land for a chosen people. Indians stood in the way of this warped vision; they said no to America's manifest destiny. They were the first but not the last to pay a price for it.
Our children grow up repeating the lessons of history--playing soldiers or cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians. They learn from countless media sources that you're not an adult unless you solve your own problems. And the way to solve them is with force--with a gun.
Comic books, cartoons, and video games are ubiquitous among today's youth. Even though we claim to prefer peace, the majority of them feature violent conflicts. Frequently they involve guns.
In that sense these mediums are worse than movies and TV shows, where violent conflicts don't occur so often. So our youth's favorite media is the most violent media. From it they learn to accept violence and aggression as the norm.
So what does a troubled boy do these days? Does he go to an revered elder for counseling? Does he listen to a moral story for its lessons? Does he seek mental health treatment at a local clinic?
Or does he do what our culture and media tell him to do: strike first and ask questions later? Be a victor or be a victim? Kill or be killed?
The answers are obvious. While you're enjoying the latest SCALPED comic, Grand Theft Auto game, or 300 movie, think about them.