Another school shooting is in the national attention, and this one involving a dead elementary-school-aged child and two administrators. There will be much fretting and discussion, but no action or policy changes that will prevent an act like this in the future. Rather than looking at the context of the event, and trying to figure out systematically what caused the violent rage of the attacker, so that we can root out the source of violence, the most we’ll get is more “security” which does nothing but provide the illusion of safety. The problem in our society is violent intent caused by uncontrolled rage and hopeless despair. These are humanistic issues that cannot be solved by the application of technical and material means, only glossed over.
What action will we take as a society to prevent situations like this in the future? Will we continue to apply simple technocratic fixes that accomplish nothing but the erosion of trust and freedom? Will we collectively shake our heads, cry, and rend garments to put our emotions on display while expecting someone else to fix the problem through means that doing nothing to address the root cause of violence? Will we ignore the thousands of other violent deaths of Americans and people around the world will suffer this year so we can pretend this incident is isolated and unique?
My heart goes out to survivors of those whom have died, and I hope this time they receive more than platitudes and empty promises of security. Maybe this will be the event that makes people conscious of the cycles of violence, negligence, and cruelty pervasive in American society. Maybe this one won’t be forgotten when the media cycle refreshes. I only wish I could be less pessimistic in my evaluation of these hopes and questions.