Monday, April 16, 2007

The Not So Unfathomable

Every time there's a horrific mass shooting -- like today's tragedy in Blacksburg, Virginia -- I hear people express the common sentiment of being unable to fathom how an individual could commit random mass murder. As I've written here before, I truly believe that what makes incidents of this nature so frightening is NOT that they are so unfathomable but that almost all of us DO understand the anger, frustration, and the feeling of hopelessness that serves as the catalyst for these acts.

Put another way, what scares us most is that we can, in fact, fathom what took place.

Almost every person I have ever known has experienced the deep pain of lost or unrequited love. Someone that you have loved -- inexplicably one day -- no longer loves you or someone that sends you into an emotional rapture doesn't share a reciprocal feeling. It feels as if someone has ripped out your heart and casts a pale over every aspect of your life.

At times like these, our pain-induced anger and sense of abject rejection causes a great many of us to imagine all sorts of sordid things -- some of which can be extremely violent.

Fortunately, because of adequate social supports and other people who love us, these kinds of feelings abate over time and we "get on" with our lives.

The vast majority of people who commit these sorts of atrocities lack the social support systems needed to move beyond the all encompassing anger and rejection. With these intense emotions and other gnawing away at their very being, they finally explode and implode.

Were it not for our support systems, any of us could easily become one of them. And, whether conscious or not, most of us realize this singular fact.

For me, that's the most frightening aspect of all -- There but for fortune go you or I.

1 comment:

  1. This post is so honest and real. Human capabilities are truly remarkable, especially to the experiencer. To completely come out of yourself happens, and happens with relentless emotion. Our "social supporters" keep these occurrences relatively submerged, or focused, through a known compassion that begs for inner appeasement. Love it.

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