Monday, April 16, 2007

Virginia Tech Shootings

Though these tragedies are quite rare, this is bound to have an impact on public policy. For the curious, I recommend reading this book by Mark Ames.

Last year, I reviewed the book. My review can be found here.

At this point, we don't know much about what happened in Virginia, but Ames' book gives a good glimpse into the psyche of a potential public shooter.

It's hard not to recall columbine and the heaps of abuse levelled on goth culture, rock stars and gun owners. Ames gets deeper than that, and to the real issues, I think: people feeling attacked and powerless and at the end of their wits. It's no the music, not the culture, not even the availability of guns -- it's that our society has a tendency to make people feel impotent, afraid and without recourse.

The important things to remember are that these incidents are rare. Also that the human element, the feeling of being powerless, is far more important than the policy elements. Putting up public cameras and metal detectors is just a band-aid. What's really important is to figure out why a person can become this desperate.


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