I don’t want to know his name. I don’t want to know a goddamned thing about him. I believe we should take an Ancient Egyptian approach to these soulless people and erase their names and likenesses from the records.
Instead of giving them what they want, those precious 15 minutes and a place in our collective history, they should be stricken from it entirely. May their names never be spoken nor their faces looked upon, simply moving from this life into nothingness.
Once more, we find ourselves faced with the choice to either crumple in uncomprehending, gut-wrenching grief or allow ourselves to go numb with acceptance. For what other choices are there? Righteous indignation? Disinterested apathy?
How ‘bout a little finger pointing superiority? Cue the bullshit about guns. Because we have to place the ultimate blame somewhere.
I have a better idea. How about we look in a mirror? Because we, the generation that has birthed and raised these children-turned-monsters, are the ones who ultimately failed.
Fuck blaming video games, the internet, or TV programming. The truth is, it was our job to teach our children right from wrong, empathy and respect for human life. It was up to us to protect them from the world and, when needed, the world from them. It was our responsibility and we failed.
How did the idea of leaving your mark on this world move from hard work, whether it’s creating through industry or art, and devolve to the lowest common denominator of 15 minutes of fame?
I could blame our media driven world. I could blame a society that places infamous above selfless. But it was our choice to become parents. Part of the weight of that decision was guiding our children through this rat maze of bullshit. And we failed. We the people allowed this world to become what it is.
I would venture to guess every last one of us has felt marginalized at one point or another. Because we’re human and the teenage years suck. In an ideal world, we have at least one parent there to hold our hand and talk us through it. After all, parents have been there, done that, so they should know.
It just seems, at some point, a shift occurred and children went from being a future that needed to be loved, protected and guided through the rough places, to little more than accessories to make us look good in pictures on Instagram.
We ignore pleas for help and warning signs of mental illness because it wouldn’t look good on our perfect family resume. We expect overloaded school systems to monitor our children and do half the job of parenting for us, then point the finger of blame at them when someone “drops through the cracks.”
We work too much to buy things we don’t need so we can look like we’ve achieved the dream, all the while leaving our children to be raised by iPads and cell phones. Then we hold up the culture that promotes this lifestyle as the Gold Standard of Excellence, rolling our eyes at those who choose a different route, labeling them religious nuts or too poor and uneducated to know better.
We have become a society of social media veneers and now we’re paying for it in blood.
Guns didn’t commit this atrocity anymore than my fork made me fat. One sad person with a twisted sense of what was important in this world did. And we’re the ones who made him.
Admitting there’s a problem may suck, but it’s always the first step in correcting it. The important thing is to be honest with ourselves about what that issue actually is and stop making excuses.