There is an old joke about a guy who comes home to find his best friend in bed with his wife. Furious, he rushes to the closet and pulls out a gun. He points it at his head and turns to face the adulterous pair. "What are you laughing at?" he cries, "You two are next!" Timing is everything. That's why I'm not laughing much these days.
The flurry of recent murder-suicides is cause for great sadness. I can certainly understand that the pressures of the world we find ourselves in these days could cause someone to decide to leave it, but that is a choice for one person to make. Whether it is a father in Graham, Washington or Santa Clara, California, or a recently laid-off IBM employee in Binghamton, New York, the grief is exponentially compounded by the senseless carnage before their eventual desperate act. Perhaps, in some piece of twisted logic, these killers are trying to eliminate the suffering and grief that the survivors of a suicide might feel. Or maybe it's profoundly sicker than we can imagine. The words of a bygone era's movie gangsters, "You'll never take me alive!" come to mind. That's fine. That's not the point. Leaving the rest of the innocent victims alive is the issue.
A friend of mine suggested that since we are no longer fighting "The War On Terror" abroad, why not focus some of those efforts here at home? Let the "Overseas Contingency Operation" continue to track down the suicide bombers in other countries. Now let's see what kind of humanitarian efforts we can expend here: mental health screening, job counselling, parenting classes, programs that fill the cracks these people fall through. The inevitable response for the neighbors of these crimes is to say, "We never expected something like this to happen here." That's why it's called "terror."