I caught a smidge of Good Morning America while drinking my morning coffee. A certain Chris Cuomo was doing a sorta follow-up to the tragic school shooting that happened in Finland. Apparently the young man in Finland was in contact with a young American who is alleged to have planned a school shooting of his own.
The information is conflicting as to whether they tailored their plans through online dialogue, but the press is not one to walk away from pure speculation. In this case, the rampant speculation laced through the story wasn’t nearly as alarming as Cuomo’s summary at the end.
In wrapping up his sorta-story Cuomo said something along the lines of…kids used to go through phases but ultimately the forces of good in their life would prevail. The fear is that they can now go online and feed their anger.
Now, a bitch has long been disturbed by the way the mainstream media covers school violence and school shootings. Stories are always laden with someone saying “Just because you’re bullied doesn’t give you the right to blah blah blah.”…as if anyone said being violent with another person is ever a matter of rights. After an initial “Students say the alleged shooter was a loner or deeply disturbed or unstable and/or bullied.” all focus is turned onto the carnage wrought and the weapons used.
Inevitably some talking head will do as Chris Cuomo has done and cast the past in a violence free nostalgic haze of bullshit that is as much a delusion as seeing the internet as the root of all evil.
But reality? Well, the reality is that just because Norman Rockwell didn’t paint them doesn’t mean that families weren’t fucked up in the 1950’s too. Mental illness wasn’t invented after cable television. There were school shootings and violence back in the day and depression, alienation, and isolation have always been warning signs that have more often than not been ignored.
What bothers me is that our adoration of the past for the perfection it never contained is part of our mass avoidance of dealing with violence within our culture and the shitty fact that it has been violent for some time. It bothers me that the media looks everywhere for the culprit...desperately seeking that one removable thing that would take us back to the kinder gentler time that never really was.
Through it all we never look at each other, talk to each other or see each other.
I suspect that the solution to the problem may be found through the very communication and honest inner work we Americans prefer to avoid.
May the Divine One grace the community of Tuusula, Finland with strength, compassion and love as they mourn those lost to this tragedy.