For a land already in a bad mood, shootings slap around the American psyche
By TED ANTHONY , Associated Press
April 4, 2009
...Without excusing one whit of the violent tendencies that ended with so many bullets in so many bodies from Binghamton to North Carolina to Alabama to California in the past month, isn't it time, finally, to figure out where this national dream makes a wrong turn?
"Maybe research can prevent further tragedies of this type," a man named Charles Whitman wrote one day in 1966. Then he ascended a tower at the University of Texas, looked out over the campus, pulled out a shotgun, three rifles and three pistols and killed 16 people.
Forty-three years and countless reams of research and lost loved ones later, we have not figured it out. Today, the American Civic Association in Binghamton says so. The Pittsburgh Police Department says so. The vulnerable people at the Pinelake Health and Rehab Center in Carthage, N.C., say so.
Of Jiverly Wong, Binghamton police Chief Joseph Zikuski had this to say Saturday: "He must have been a coward." Perhaps. But that's the beginning of an answer, not the end of one. On Friday, the federal government announced that 663,000 Americans lost their jobs in March. What's truly unsettling in America's new era of gloom and dead ends is wondering how many of those 663,000 might be deeply, irrevocably angry about it — and might have a gun.
Because the American tragedies that haven't happened yet are the most terrifying ones of all.
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