On Sunday, January 21, a 15-year-old male was charged with the murder of his two parents and three younger siblings after news of a horrific shooting in a New Mexico home erupted across the news media universe yesterday. Although details are still emerging, current reports seem to indicate that the parents and victims of the presumably disturbed teen kept the semi-automatic assault rifle used to perpetrate the tragic slaughter in their closet.
The father and victim of the shooter is well known in his area for being a spiritual leader who worked closely with local firefighters, and as a Chaplain in county jail who worked hard to integrate former prisoners back into the community.
Although the events that happened on this day are unquestionably horrendous, the reports indicate that many lives were likely spared as the shooter was preparing to finish his attack by inflicting mass casualties at the local Wal-Mart, a friend was able to stall him long enough to avoid any more fatalities.
As more details are released about this event, the more questions one probably has about the objective mental stability of this teen before this event. The way in which he went around his home and killing the younger siblings that were home at the time, and the reports that he showed his mother’s head to his brother before shooting him, display a very evil and sadistic desire. In a statement the shooter said he “lost his sense of conscience,” but that was after he had already killed two, which makes the statement puzzling.
Although this tragedy and events similar to this will continue to be big news as President Obama and Democrats push for gun control legislation and the national media and blogosphere continue to debate the gun issue, the most important question is why these mass shootings, committed by primarily quiet young men, seem to continue as most other crimes continue on a downward trend. When a disturbed mind, such as the mind of this shooter, decide to commit these somewhat premeditated attacks (he had homicidal thoughts, and planned to die in a shootout in a populated area) despite the fact that there is no gain for them (like there is for a bank robber) they defy any criminal logic, and are therefore hard to predict, nearly impossible to dissuade, and very dangerous. Unfortunately making any attempt to discuss what the root cause of these deadly symptoms might be becomes a political argument about guns vs. Hollywood, and this knee-jerk reaction is clearly not doing anyone any favors.