The following piece is being circulated around the Internet and being said to have been written by Morgan Freeman. Since it lacks a valid attribution, the content is sometimes being challenged, but, regardless of the author, it's worth considering. Here's the piece.
You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.
It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single 'victim' of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up," this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours.
Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news.
Regardless of who wrote this, it's a valid critique. Personally, I turn to my mentor and teacher Buckminster Fuller for vision and perspective. Bucky often told his audiences, "I'm not trying to counsel any of you to do anything really special except dare to think. And to dare to go with the truth. And to dare to really love completely."
So, do we dare to think for ourselves rather than allowing the media to dictate how the world is and should be? And do we then dare to go with the truth as we know it in our hearts? And, most importantly, do we dare to love completely?
That means loving the perpetrator, who will go unnamed in this piece, as well as those who were killed who are named here for us all to remember.
Allison Wyatt age six.
Benjamin Wheeler age six.
Avielle Richman age six.
Jessica Rekos age six.
Caroline Previdi age six.
Noah Pozner age six.
Jack Pinto age six.
Emilie Parker age six.
Grace McDonnell age seven.
James Mattioli age five.
Jesse Lewis age six.
Chase Kowalski age seven.
Catherine Hubbard age six.
Madeleine Hsu age six.
Dylan Hockley age six.
Ana Marquez-Greene age six.
Josephine Gay age seven.
Olivia Engel age six.
Daniel Barden age seven.
Charlotte Bacon age six.
Rachel Davino age 29.
Mary Sherlach, school psychologist, age 56.
Anne Marie Murphy age 52.
Lauren Rousseau, teacher, age 30.
Victoria Soto, teacher age 27.
Dawn Hochsprung, principal, age 47.
The one thing that this and other such mass shootings prove is that our system is badly broken. Very few guns are used to obtain food anymore. Most have a single purpose, to kill for no good reason. Again, I turn to Bucky Fuller for advice in repairing this very damaged system that results in ongoing tragedy. He often said, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."
Perhaps it's time to build a new model that makes our existing violent model obsolete and stops the killing once and for all.
Follow L. Steven Sieden on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BuckyFullerNow