Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Milkman Cometh

It doesn't sound like the name of a horror movie. But it is. Drop off the daily delivery, then line up some sweet little Amish girls in front of the blackboard and shoot them in the head. It's Nightmare on Bonnet Street.

It's nothing new, of course. Ever since some Goth outsider kids in Colorado decided to massacre their classmates and teachers seven years ago, violence in schools has become fairly routine news. We've become desensitized to it. There have been three such occurrences in the past week. But the thought of those bloodsoaked bonnets has awakened me again. And I feel sick.

Why the Amish, of all people? Why terrorize people who simply want to be left alone, who preach nonviolence and non-resistance, who want to live peaceably with their crops and their livestock and their community of faith? And who will, God bless them, find some way in their hearts not to harbor bitterness and unforgiveness? Why them?

Strolling into a school building should not be a life-threatening event. But it is. It is, and I hover between wanting to pull my daughter out of school and providing her with a bullet-proof vest. I understand the Second Amendment. I understand how fervently some people cherish their right to own firearms. But look at us. Look at what we have become. To put it mildly, it doesn't seem like it's working.


Anonymous said...

I was going to go on with something cynical about registering sin nature, and then I realized that it really doesn't matter. Things like this are going to continue to happen. Referencing your "Ray Bradbury" note (wish I could express how I feel as well as you can express how I feel), it'll get worse. Then it will get better.

But when I see stuff like this I mostly just cry for us all.

Mark K. said...

In the end, there will be justice as well as healing, joy, beauty, harmony, etc. If you believe what the Bible says, then will be more than worth the crap of now.

Anonymous said...

I was nodding in agreement all the way through until the last. Surely someone as smart as you are doesn't believe that stricter gun controls would have prevented this tragedy. As a non-NRA member who favors some controls over handguns and rapid fire automatic weapons, I know that this person was going to do what he did regardless of whether he used a handgun, assault weapon, shotgun, rifle, or knife. As Christians, we both know that the solution lies elsewhere.

e said...

(I know this is not appropriate at all, but it still came to mind and I don't have an edit button today.)

I liked Chris Rock's solution:

"You don't need no gun control. You know what you need? We need some bullet control. I think every bullet should cost $5000."

Anonymous said...

Andy, I agree, it sucks. And this probably won't make you (or any of the families involved in the last week's shootings) feel any better, but in our staff meeting today at my school we talked about this, and some of the myths about school shootings. One of those myths is that incidents like this are common, or becoming commonplace. In reality, they are like plane crashes: statistically rare. It's just that they grab all of the media attention when they do occur. Counting incidents like this, shooting deaths at school, including "run-of-the-mill" (and I don't believe there's really such a thing) homicides, average 15-20 per year. I'm sure that large cities such as Los Angeles, Detroit, NYC, Washington DC, etc. experience shootings every year, but because they're isolated incidences with only one or two people involved, they don't merit the attention of these larger events. In the same way, many more people are killed every year in car crashes than in plane crashes, but plane crashes are so much more spectacular in terms of shear numbers that they garner most of the attention. And while I realize that, it doesn't make me feel any safer flying, and frankly I feel less safe in my school building this year, simply because it's smaller and everything is much closer to the many exterior doors than the building I've been in for the last years.

Oh, and one more thing. Another myth is that the Goth stereotype is behind school shootings. Not only is that untrue, but our assistant principal said that the Goths in our district are much less likely to be involved in disciplinary actions than other student groups.

Mike G.

mommy zabs said...

yeah these shootings have been sick and totally impossible to understand, like so many of the sick things that happen.

but gun control would have no impact on this. criminals will still be able to get them if they want them. and people like this guy will find another way if they don't have a gun. it's the heart that is the issue. not the gun.

Anonymous said...

my heart only shoots blanks

Andy Whitman said...

In this particular case, the shooter doesn't strike me as the criminal type. By all accounts, he was a "normal," law-abiding member of society, until something snapped.

And I can't help but wonder if the outcome might have been different if he didn't have three guns and 600 rounds of ammunition lying around the house. That's all. Surely something bad would have happened in any case. But maybe it wouldn't have been quite as bad.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, the news has consistently described this guy as the last person you would expect to do such a horrific thing. Therefore, unless you ban all gun and ammo purchases, which is unlikely in a state with as many hunters as Pennsylvania, chances are nobody would have batted an eye at his purchases. Lots of hunters have more than one weapon. And guns and ammo that are sufficient to kill deer are more than ample for killing children.

I'm encouraged by the commentor who pointed out that this doesn't happen as often as it seems. It's just that, when it does, it awful and makes the national news for days.