Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Pound Puppy" Robert Hawkins Kills Eight

Duh on me! I just learned that mall security in Nebraska is unarmed. Or perhaps it was just that particular mall where a “pound puppy” of a teenager killed eight people with a rifle he took from his father’s house.

No doubt the kid was a lost soul but it sounds as if there are other lost souls involved in the incident. A New York Times story has it that Robert Hawkins got the rifle from his dad’s house. Another story had it that he got the rifle from his step-dad’s house. There’s not much difference there, certainly, but the fact is that Hawkins had been kicked out of the family home and had been living at the home of a friend.

According to the New York Times story, Hawkins told the people he was living with that he’d got the rifle to go target shooting. Apparently, this didn’t raise any red flags with anyone, nor were there any behavioral alerts which might have alarmed anyone. Of course, there was the last minute phone call, some cryptic notes, and a forlorn sort of apology to Mrs. Kovacs, the householder where Hawkins was living. No red flags there, either. We’re all just grooving along, minding our own business.

That’s the trouble with the way we do things these days. It’s another form of post-traumatic-stress-disorder only this form of it afflicts the media, parents, educational institutions, and society in general. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so we gild the lily.

The “pound puppy” murdered eight people. Can we assume Hawkins hurt their feelings as well? Hawkins’ parents probably had to kick him out but then, knowing their progeny was such a piece of work, why didn’t they lock up the family arsenal? It is implied, but never stated, that Mrs. Kovacs knew that Hawkins brought the rifle to her house. So you have a kid whom she knows is troubled bringing an AR-15 into her house and you do nothing about it? The cryptic phone call and goofy notes certainly must have given everyone a clue but, never mind, let’s make nice.

Contrast this to another mall shooting earlier this year where five people were killed in February. In that one, mall security was unarmed, too, but not an armed off-duty cop in civilian clothes who engaged the killer in a gunfight which kept the body count from mounting even higher. In that mall shooting, eighteen year-old Sulejman Talovic was said to have “no motive” though some reports say that the Bosnian refugee acted out of “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” inasmuch as he is said to have chanted a Muslim phrase while he was shooting people.

The point is not that Talovic was a Muslim but that the environment in which we currently live is such that we must always be spoon-fed a great deal of euphemistic Pablum. No problems are ever addressed by not speaking plainly. On the contrary, the lack of truth-telling in the media and elsewhere means we have a smile on our face while we have bad faith in our minds and hearts.

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