Jewish World Review July 23, 2012/ 5 Menachem-Av, 5772
After another shooter's rampage, a numbing, random dread
By Mitch Albom
"Hey, we could go see the Batman premiere," one of us said.
We looked at each other. It was tempting -- to be so spontaneous, to act so young, to stay out late and be among the first to see this hot new film.
"Nah ... I can't stay up."
"Why go and fall asleep?"
"We'll see it next week."
We drove home, feeling old.
We awoke the next morning, feeling lucky.
Twelve people dead. Fifty-nine wounded. A gunman spraying bullets as the movie played on, then later allegedly telling police he was the Joker. You wonder how many people outside the
Are any of them dead today? Or carrying fragments of bullets in their bodies?
What do you say after an event like this? Do you say it's the guns? It's the violence? It's society?
It is the guns, but not just the guns. It is the violence, but not just the violence. It is society, but not just society.
It's the person.
And it's always the person.
Look, you can fill the streets with weapons, I still won't pick one up. You can show me a marathon of violent films, I still won't want to act them out. Something likely snapped inside the mind of the suspect,
And when a mind snaps evil, that's when easy gun availability becomes a factor, that's when violent images may fuel the imagination, that's when an alienating society may fan the murderous flames.
But we know very little about what motivated the
People always say, "We should have seen this coming." But if your first bad act is going to be a mass murder, I'm not sure anyone can see it coming.
And the truth is, nobody knows nobody.
I do know this. Like many of you, I grow increasingly depressed by the randomness of it all and by survivors who make you heave with sadness, like the 19 year-old woman named
That's a good word for all of this.
I spoke with a news anchor in
But the fact is, we always had to worry about going into a movie theater. It's a dark place with few exits and lots of people. If a deranged individual wants to shoot it up, you're in trouble.
But the same can be said of a church. A crowded mall. A concert hall. A train station. Should we never go to those? Columbine proved that high school hallways are not safe.
You always have to worry, but it's not the places you have to worry about. It's the shooters. They can strike anywhere.
While it may be true that guns don't kill people, people kill people, a person with an assault rifle can do a lot more killing than a person without one.
And another one just did.
It's a cliché when this happens, but it's nonetheless true, that you never know how many moments you are given in this world, and you never know which decisions -- like going home instead of going in -- might save your life.
You only know that when you wake up in the morning, safe and with your loved ones, you should count yourself lucky, and keep your eyes open as the day goes on.
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