Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Another American Tragedy

You know, I can remember a time when there wasn't a mass murder in the United States every year... when people didn't lose their jobs and then, go and shoot everybody (lucky or unlucky enough, depending on how you look at it) to still be working at the same job. It seems like this type of thing happens every year now.

The politicians say the same things... stronger gun control legislation and, of course, it never gets done. The powerful lobby that is the NRA (and I'm not saying this is their fault) always says "Guns don't kill people... people do." I'm going to surprise everybody here and tell you that I agree with the NRA. You can take all of the legal guns, legislate them, and sufficiently document just who has what and that doesn't do a thing for the illegal unregistered guns on the street already that you don't even know about. It also doesn't stop somebody with a legally purchased gun from killing either.

You can't legislate what is in a person's mind. A young African-American driver who was caught stealing beer from the warehouse where he worked, agreed to resign his job early yesterday morning and then, as "cold as ice", said one of his victims, he went on a shooting rampage, killing eight people and injuring two before committing suicide. He had told his family that he had suffered racial harrassment at the job prior to today's tragedy. He had gone to the union about it and they failed to address his concerns. I don't know if mounting tensions is why he chose to go off or the fact that he was being let go from the job. I just don't know. Nobody really knows, nor will we because the shooter took all of that to the grave with him and his victims.

Omar Thornton, 34 years old, pulled out a handgun after a meeting in which he was shown video evidence of his thefts and was offered the chance to resign or be fired. "Then, he went out on this rampage," company Vice President Steve Hollander told The Associated Press. "He was cool and calm. He didn't yell. He was cold as ice. He didn't protest when we were meeting with him to show him the video of him stealing. He didn't contest it. He didn't complain. He didn't argue. He didn't admit or deny anything. He just agreed to resign. And then, he just unexplainably pulled out his gun and started blasting away."

Hollander said he thinks Thornton had guns stashed in his lunch box. The executive said two people standing right near him were shot in the head and killed, but he was only grazed in the jaw and the arm. "He shot at me twice and hit me a couple times. By just the grace of God, I don't know how he missed me", he said. About 50-70 people were in the Hartford Distributors warehouse about 10 miles east of Hartford during a shift change when the gunman opened fire around 7:00am, said Brett Hollander, Steve Hollander's cousin and a member of the family that owns the distributorship.

Steve Hollander said... "I was on the phone with 911 and then, I saw him running outside of my office window, shooting his gun, carrying his lunch box, which must have had his weapons in it. It doesn't seem real to me now, it seems like I'm watching a movie."

Yes, a surreal movie that now seems all too familiar in our country... of a frustrated person who has just lost his job, whose wife has left him, who realizes that he can't pay bills, who just flunked out of college, and whatever (you pick one), who gets armed to the teeth and makes everybody suffer for all of their failings in life... or maybe the failure of his or her fellow man/woman to see another person in pain... or to even care.

The shooting was over in a matter of minutes. The victims were found all over the complex, and authorities said they didn't know if Thornton fired randomly or targeted specific co-workers. After shooting his co-workers, Thornton called his mother and Joanne Hannah, the mother of Thornton's girlfriend.

The smoke has cleared, the bodies have no doubt been removed, the blood and carnage has been cleaned up... but, the Horror will remain for a long time, as well as the apathy and the utter darkness in a human soul.


LadyLee said...

This happens way too much. I wish there was some way to stop the problems at the root, so we wouldn't be trying to figure out why a person would do such a thing. Because "now" means it's much to late to be pondering it.

Arlene said...

This was a sad situation. Eight people died, accusations are flying left and right about who said what, how , and when. The worst of this is that the gun lobbyists are using this as an example of why everyone needs to carry a weapon. NRA folks believe if others at the worksite had weapons also, fewer people would have died and someone would have killed the killer instead of him having the opportunity to take his own life. Now how crazy is that! These are the folks who want to carry openly at the "Starbucks." And guess what?? These people are persuading "law abiding citizens" to their side. Some believe carrying a weapon reduces the likelihood of crime. I think it increases the chance that someone will be killed or maimed.

P.S. A few days ago I saw a tv show updating the story about Bernard Goetz. Remember him? The NY subway shooter. What if he didn't have that gun? Or worse, suppose the other 30 odd folks on the subway car did? Would we still be finding body parts??

Lady (Bug) said...


As soon as I read your comment about the NRA's response to this story, it reminded me of an old episode of "All In The Family" (Remember that show?) Archie did a TV commercial once in which he claimed that he could end all of the "skyjackings" (Remember how he used to murder the English language?) tommorrow by "...arming all the passengers! That way, the 'skyjackers' won't be one-up on anybody, see? Just pass out the pistols at the beginning of the trip and collect at the end!" When the commercial went off, Mike told Edith and Gloria, "I think we just saw Archie Bunker's bicentennial minute!"

All that to say, the NRA (and all the Archie Bunkers of the world) are wrong! Violence begets Violence... If you live by the sword, you will die by the sword... and on and on it goes. But, some people NEVER learn.


"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading