I Don't Understand

Saturday, December 14, 2013
There was another school shooting this week. A student in Colorado, apparently searching for a teacher, opened fire with a shotgun, wounding one girl. Then he killed himself.

It seems as if there's one of these incidents every month. What used to be a rare occurrence has become commonplace. And most of the time the shooter turns the weapon on himself at the end, leaving behind tremendous grief and too many questions. What overwhelming pain in his life caused him to believe that killing someone and then taking his own life was the solution to his problem?

There are all kinds of pop psychology reasons given in an attempt to explain the violence in our society. Video games. Television. Drugs. But I don't think those things explain the cause. They're just more symptoms. Why are we as a society drawn to violence as entertainment?

As a reader and writer of mysteries--most of which involve a murder, I find my tastes are changing. First I stopped reading humorous mysteries. Murder isn't funny. This past year I've stopped reading cozies for the most part, because I just can't enjoy all the bodies dropping while the owner of the quilt shop runs around town solving the crime. I've stopped reading Nevada Barr, who used to be one of my favorite authors, because her recent novels are so dark and brutal I can't enjoy them any more.

As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I want to read any mysteries. Currently I'm reading A Breath of Snow and Ashes, a time travel-historical-romance by Diana Gabaldon. While Diana doesn't shy away from violence, you never feel as if you're on a romp to discover the killer. The bad guy is always known and it's clear he's the bad guy. Her characters feel strongly about the wrongs done to themselves and others.

I find myself missing science fiction and fantasy. Speculative fiction is usually an idea or milieu story. Yes, there's military sf, but the stories I most enjoy are those about exploring new worlds and new civilizations (queue the Star Trek theme) and overcoming a problem caused by being in space or a bit of technology gone wrong. People aren't always shooting at one another.

I'm also more interested in romance, a genre I previously avoided, even looked down on until recently. At least in romance you can pretty much be guaranteed a Happily Ever After. And it's rare that someone gets killed.

Usually I try to end a blog entry on some kind of conclusion, some point I'm trying to make. But today I'm just very sad. I don't have any conclusions. I can't make any sense of why so many teenaged males are killing others and themselves. I just don't understand.

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Elise's bookshelf: currently-reading

A Clash of Kings
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