A Shooter and his prey

 

Once again we walk through our day shaking our heads in disbelief, muttering prayers for the dead, the wounded, the first-responders, and all the families.

We turn on the radio, NPR or Rush Limbaugh. We turn on the TV, FoxNews or CNN. And we listen in what could be mistaken as a meditative state but really is just the look of stupefaction.

We ask the very same questions we have asked in all the dozens and dozens and dozens of prior episodes. Who is this shooter? What is his background? Were the guns purchased legally? How did he gain access? Who are his friends? Who is his parents? What did they know? Did he have a history of violence? Did he play violent video games? Had he ever been arrested before? Are there any other clues that could have, should have led others to stop the slaughtering of the innocent?

We will once again argue over gun control, although there’s really no point in it. If the killings of all those babies at Newtown wasn’t cause enough to act, to change, to be a better people, to make better choices for the whole of us, nothing will make convince us to change.

Shooters know that in this country they can have a field day any day of the week, any week of the month, any month of the year. They can stand in the center of our federal buildings and pick us off one-by-one, like a boy with a BB-gun shooting magpies sitting on a fence. Shooters can walk into our subways and pick us off as we scramble for the doors. They don’t care. They are just as happy to shoot us in the back as in the forehead. It actually thrills them to see us run. Just like in all those violent video games they play, they’ve learned to visualize us as cartoon buffoons attempting to flee. Shooters like the power and control that it gives them to see us confused, frightened, pleading for our lives, praying over our friends, our loved ones.

Right now, as I type this, somewhere in America there is another, likely dozens of others. Visualizing the day when they, too, will don the black garb, grab the long-gun or the semi-automatic weapon, and walk boldly into the front doors of a federal building, a school, a gym, a movie theater, a church, and open fire. They sit at their computers or TVs peering down the barrel of a pretend gun, conditioning their minds and their souls to acts of violence, training for the killings to come. They assess the carnage that is their make-believe world and imagine the elation and thrill that will be theirs when they inhale the mineral-smell of fresh blood, not the stuff of video games.

Shooters know the only way to up the ante of the violence it to kill more people than the last shooter. In real life and the imaginary one, if you want to be the Top Shooter, you must kill the most people you can in the shortest amount of time you can. The clock, not humanity, is the real enemy of the Shooter. There is no time, nor any reason, to think about the lives of the people falling into pools of their own blood.

Committees in Congress will convene to study all the ways in which security measures failed to protect the innocent again. A grandmother will walk through a mall in Seattle and Topeka today and wonder what she should do if someone opens fire. School officials in Atlanta and Los Alamos will send out emails reminding their employees of the district’s security policies and urging them to be ever vigilant.

Yet, it won’t be long before we are all hear again, flipping through the channels, turning the dial on the radio, calling our friends in Connecticut, in Colorado, in Texas, or Georgia and asking if they are okay, have they heard the news?

There’s been another mass shooting.

This one at a school.

At a movie theater.

At the mall.

At the ballgame.

At the military base.

At the shipyard.

In bold daylight.

Right in front of God and all that security.

While Americans sit watching, too stupefied, too confused, too lost in a morass of moral and legal ambiguity to do the right hard things that might actually deter a Shooter-in-the-making.

 

“The Roots of Violence: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice, Politics without principles.”

(Young India, 22 October 1925)”
― Mahatma Gandhi

 

 

 

 

About Karen Spears Zacharias

Author. Speaker. Journalism Instructor. Four kids. Three dogs. One grandson.

  • robin

    The frequency of these events trouble me, they are happening more and more. I cant help but think that our modern world with its technological advancements have made us less human and detached from one another.

  • AF Roger

    Two words: male socialization. There are any number of extra security measures, scanners, surveillance cameras, metal detectors and bullet-proof materials we can put up around everything from preschools to Amish schools to porta-potties to churches and malls and airports and courthouses to military bases themselves. All will be at best band-aid diversions from addressing the root cause: male socialization. Let’s start today by asking the question at home, in school, at church and at work: WHAT AM I HERE FOR?
    I love the scene in Rob Bell’s short film “Name” in which he describes the wrestling match between God disguised as an angel and the struggling shepherd, Jacob, when the angel asks, “What is your name?” The question really asks, “Who ARE you?”
    Then this line from Bell’s narration: How much of our pain in life comes from not knowing how to answer that question?
    Indeed. Bullets. Nerve gas. Pressure cooker bombs. IED’s. Drones, rapes and honor killings…
    Who ARE we? And what ARE we for? Questions. I’m not fearful that the answers would terrify me. I’m more convinced that the deafening silence would break my heart.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      I was at an event in Georgia recently where young children walked up to a mike and announced their names and what they hoped to be in the future. I wish all children could articulate such hope by age 10. I think it might give them a vision beyond their daily realities.

  • Vision_From_Afar

    Give me a moment to stop sputtering in shock…
    Okay. I’ll try to be brief, but no promises.

    “Are there any other clues that could have, should have led others to stop the slaughtering of the innocent?”
    Are you trying to advocate for a Minority Report-style pre-crime division? A “you look mean enough, and I’ve heard you have a gun, so we’ll just throw you in the pokey till we’re sure you’re not going to shoot anyone?” Even the NSA can’t watch everyone that closely.

    “If the killings of all those babies at Newtown wasn’t cause enough to act, to change, to be a better people, to make better choices for the whole of us, nothing will make convince us to change.”
    Newtown was horrible, no one argues that. However, how intrusive should gun control be? Should every potential hunter or collector be forced to submit to a full family background check? What if a distant cousin is unstable? A neighbor? The shooter’s mother obtained the guns, and there was no reason to stop her. The gun control failure lies with her in that situation, not the state.

    “Shooters like the power and control that it gives them to see us confused, frightened, pleading for our lives, praying over our friends, our loved ones.”
    You’ve thought about this a bit too much, and way to vividly. You don’t have a gun, do you?

    “They sit at their computers or TVs peering down the barrel of a pretend gun, conditioning their minds and their souls to acts of violence, training for the killings to come.”
    Stop. Stop. Stop. I am a perfectly healthy, well-adjusted male of 30, and I have played shooters for nearly two decades, as long as they’ve been around. I do not own a gun, though I could easily purchase one if I desired. I have dozens upon dozens of friends through the years who have also played shooters, and they are well adjusted. Anyone who thinks pushing a plastic button on a 1/2 pound piece of hardware is anything like aiming and firing a pistol or rifle needs to get a reality check.

    “There is no time, nor any reason, to think about the lives of the people falling into pools of their own blood.”
    Getting creepier and creepier. Are you enjoying this?

    “While Americans sit watching, too stupefied, too confused, too lost in a morass of moral and legal ambiguity to do the right hard things that might actually deter a Shooter-in-the-making.”

    So you’re advocating that everyone who is able to should be checked out, trained, and armed at all times, so any potential shooter is fully aware that any attempt at a mass shooting will result in a permanant, swift solution? What other suggestion could you possibly have? Ban video games? Take all the guns away (ask Mexico how that’s working out)?

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Dear Afar: I don’t have a gun. I didn’t advocate for people being checked out or armed at all times. I do advocate strongly for gun control and for better mental health, but our problems go deeper than that. What do you advocate for?

  • Sandra Saunders Traw

    I am somewhat confused by your post as I am not at all sure what your point is. You spend a great deal of time telling us what is “in the minds” of people shooting other people….but you do not distinguish between shooters in war or pathological shooters. You seem to imply that the ROOT problem we are facing today is the violence seen and participated in by our youth. Why then, if this is the ROOT, are we not spending our time, effort and money addressing this issue rather than gun control issues. Background checks keep no one from buying a gun on Craig’s list or through a newspaper add or on the street. Anyone who thinks limiting magazine numbers has no idea how fast a magazine can be changed out. These are foolish answers by un-informed people. I am 68 yrs old have seen guns carried all my life in cars, onto school grounds. Yet, I never grew up with gun violence. With all the crime against women these days, I never travel without my pistol. Do you think I were within range less people would have died that day…..you had better believe it because it is true.

    • http://karenzach.com Karen Spears Zacharias

      Sandra: I think it is pretty clear I’m not talking about shooters in war. If I was talking about war, I’d say that. But yes, I’d agree that we do indeed need to address the violence that is our culture but of course that would require a change in culture, a change that would be reflected in our gun laws, as well as other areas.

  • Sandra Saunders Traw

    And now the report is in …..not. An assault weapon. A shotgun. He could have reasonably been taken down within 3 shots. But we have unarmed military on the site. One of our wounded warriors who seems to have been failed by improper mental health care. Of course, all the info isn’t in yet but doubt this can be blamed on video games


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