|Up Front & Personal with a Shooter
My reaction to the wails of grief and desperation of the latest deadly shootings—and the many before this-- is that we know these people.
This country has a violent history. Since its founding, there have been killings of all kinds from sea to shining sea.
It’s been 20 years since the Columbine massacre, and we are no farther along in prevention and intervention of such killings today. The nation may
remember the names of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris. The names of the 13 victims of Klebold and Harris have long faded except in the memories
of their loved ones.
Since Columbine, we seem to have become de-sensitized to these acts of domestic terrorism. Maybe numb may better describe our sensibilities.
We can go there!
According to its definition, the Gun Violence Archive has documented 251 mass shootings in the U.S. since January of this year. The El Paso and
Dayton massacres brought that total to 253. GVA tracks mass shootings of incidents involving at least 4 people being shot.
Since the Sandy Hook tragedy when GVA started keeping better stats, it’s tracked over 2,000 mass shootings. Most of these have been in suburban
settings. In the last two — Ohio and Texas — the white shooters have turned their rage towards Black and Brown people. We are wondering what
this latest trend of targeting people of color means for our safety and security.
In the last month, five communities have endured massacres. We know the racist and vitriolic hate from trump’s bully pit has now put people of color
in the crosshair of white nationalists.
by Jamala Rogers
Let’s make a note of trump’s irrefutable provocation although this column is
not about him. Nor is it about the stark racial contrast between how the
mainstream media portrays the ethnicity of shooters. This column is about
what we can immediately control in our own families and neighborhoods.
Most of these mass shootings were done by young white men. Yet society
has painted young, Black males with a broad brush of criminality and
violence. These misguided young men are more likely to shoot their single
victim in a fit of anger, unlike the white males who generally carry out
detailed plans of mass murder with an arsenal of high-powerful weapons
and body armor.
Whether the shooter is a white, suburban male or a black, urban male, there
are people who know/knew the person who pulled the trigger. These people
are family members, friends, teachers, co-workers and others. The shooter
has a circle of contacts around him who have witnessed his troubling
behavior. The shooter is a friend, a son, a brother, an uncle, a grandson or a
nephew. Too often, we act as if we don’t know him, or that his behavior
came out of the blue.
Our families and communities must take a more aggressive but
compassionate approach to young men who are displaying behavior or
communications that point to violent outcomes before law enforcement get
involved. This is an important point of early contact that could curb the levels
of violence infiltrating our daily lives and destroying many innocent lives.
Every year, about 10,000 people are killed at the hands of mass shooters
with almost double that amount injured. Let’s focus on the young people
who let us know in some form or fashion that they are about to do harm to
another human being. We need to get involved before these young men
reach their breaking point.
You know him. We know them. It’s past time that we stop being passive
spectators and save some lives.