Saturday, December 15, 2012

No easy answers

It is emerging that the shooter was a high-functioning autistic kid who had become increasingly unstable in recent weeks, according to a concerned friend. Four years ago, his parents divorced. He stayed on with his mother in the family home in a prosperous suburban enclave. His mother reportedly was an avid gun collector, who took her sons to recreational shooting ranges. So this troubled young man was a trained shooter with easy access to a range of legally owned guns in his own home.

There's no point in blaming his mother. I am quite sure she never saw this coming. I am also quite sure that if she had known how to help her youngest son, she would have petitioned the heavens to do so.

Now, we sift through the ashes to find the fateful moment, the spark that bloomed into a raging destructive fire. We try so hard to understand it, but it's not understandable. Perhaps the only people who might have shed light on what pushed a socially awkward young man with no known history of violence to shoot a schoolroom of children, perished in the flames.

As one of my friends noted on Facebook: "Yes, it's about access to guns, especially to handguns and assault weapons, but it is also about lack of access to effective care for the mentally ill. Let's get mad about that, too."


  1. Sometimes a perfect storm just occurs. This leads to that which leads to this. And so forth.
    It is so human for us to want to figure all of this out so that we can prevent it from happening again or else perhaps try and rationalize why it won't happen to us.
    I think most of this is futile. Steps set in such forward motion can be impossible to detect, can be impossible to retrace.

  2. I cringe to think of what this means to the community -- a growing one -- of those whose children have autism. I have long wondered what is going to happen to these children as they age, grow older and so little is understood, while their programs are cut, insurance companies deny mental health benefits, etc. etc. etc.


  3. Actually, if the mother were still alive, I would be very critical of her. Who in god's name keeps guns within reach of a boy like him? What was she thinking?
    I agree that we have a lot of work to do with regards to mental health services, but I hope it doesn't provide a convenient distraction from the fact that we really do have to get very serious about gun control too.

  4. I completely agree with Ms Moon AND Elizabeth. Such a complicated convoluted issue.

    i've heard so many arguments re: gun control and mental health services. I have no words.

    I'm so sad for that community.

  5. Absolutely. Your friend is right. We have to make guns less readily available, but at the same time, the REAL issue is that people who need help aren't getting it, for whatever reason.