On Monday I attended a writing group where the leader prompted us to write about the shootings last week in Colorado. Below is what I wrote.

When I heard about Colorado and what had happened, at first I didn’t really focus. When I finally comprehended what had happened my first thought was why aren’t people be nicer to people? Why do we live in a world where such horrible things occur?

I had just finished reading Little Bee by Chris Cleave. The book is about a Nigerian refugee. Horrific things happen to her. Again why do these things, these bad, bad things exist? The holocaust was over seventy years ago but the world keeps doing the same terrible things over and over. Not letting people in, not rescuing people, and not treating people how you would want to be treated.

If the Colorado shooter was Islamic or a person of color he would be called a terrorist. Because he is white he is just a killer. What did he do but cause terror? Can people go to the movies again without fear? Can the people of Aurora go about their business without fear? The world should be safe place. Safe from violence. Safe from crime. Safe from hunger.

The gun rights people, the NRA, say guns don’t kill people, people do. Doesn’t having easy access to guns make killing easier? Of course there are other ways to kill, to cause terror. On 9/11 they used planes. The person in Colorado could have used a bomb. His apartment was booby trapped with explosives. Still does anyone besides the police or the military need an assault weapon?

The person from Colorado is obviously mentally ill.  A sane person could not knowingly harm so many people. If he knew what he was doing though, he may not be found legally insane. Recently I listened on cd to Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard. Charles Guiteau was completely crazy and delusional. He believed that people would be happy that he had killed the president. He was not found to be legally insane. He was found guilty and executed. There is a huge stigma in this society against mental illness. Many, many people who need help do not get it.  Although the Colorado terrorist apparently showed no sign of disease something was obviously terribly wrong.

A society where we cared for one another and found peaceful ways to resolve conflict would be beautiful place.



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