Sunday, February 04, 2018

By Heart

I work down at the car wash where all it ever does is rain - Bruce Springsteen "Downbound Train"
In Melcroft, Pennsylvania this week, that status changed. Four people were shot and killed at Ed's Car Wash. The four victims, all in their twenties, were murdered by one man who survived an apparent gunshot to the head. Initial investigation suggests that a domestic dispute is what started the deadly chain of events in motion.
This is the moment that I struggle with most: If you have it in your head to kill yourself because things have become so very untenable in your own life, this is a decision made between yourself and your god. All of that angry revenge motif flies out the window once everyone involved is dead. Any sympathy that might be gained by the shooter goes away instantly when it becomes clear that taking someone else's life was the focus. This starts to tip into the territory of common sense, but once you have fallen into the "jealous rage" category. Once again, we are left wondering what might have become of these four young victims had they been allowed to live past this emotional speed bump. And the shooter?  Now the work begins to piece together where his trolley jumped off the track. If he was just an enthusiastic gun owner who purchased his weapons legally and held the Second Amendment close to his heart as he made his way to and from the target range, all that good will and potential for NRA poster boy went out the window when he went on his killing spree.
As Chris Rock has pointed out, this is really an economic issue. The solution to this problem was really not multiple rounds. It was one bullet. All that extra ammunition and property damage was unnecessary to achieve the ultimate goal. If killing yourself is what you really hope to achieve, there are less expensive and less messy alternatives.
Which leads us down the road to Blacksburg, Virginia where a freshman was arrested for purchasing five thousand rounds of ammunition for his AR-15. The student in question is an exchange student from China, so possession of the rifle alone was breaking the law. Which set off a flurry of arguments on Al Gore's Internet where the distinctions of owning the weapon versus buying bullets online. Which seems like a pretty ridiculous line to walk, since owning an AR-15 and buying five thousand rounds seems like a pretty tough rationalization, especially at Virginia Tech. Because by now, we all know the story.
By heart.

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