Saturday, December 15, 2012
Conform or be cast out
Not sure what led the Connecticut school killer to commit his heinous act. I'm sure it will reinvigorate the gun control debate in this country. How we treat mental illness will also be debated in the wake of this tragedy, for sure. We're also hearing the shooter had autism. When the media incorrectly reported his brother as the shooter, neighbors realized the mistake right away and knew he had to be the gunman. In other words, he was known to be the strange one.
Autism seems to take on many forms. I worked with an autistic person a few years ago. The young man was a brilliant musician who was obsessed with computers. In fact, his job was to design websites. He was a savant with very few, if any friends. I remember him living with a roommate who had a bird in their apartment. At one of his meetings, he said the bird was making too much noise and he was thinking about cooking it and eating it one night. He said this, as if it were a perfectly normal response to the bird being a bit noisy.
From everything I'm hearing about the Connecticut school shooter, he was socially awkward. He had no Senior HS picture. It just said camera shy under his name. (Come to think of it, so did mine, but that's another story). His parents were divorced and he seemed to have pent up rage and resentment towards them, as evidenced by him shooting his mother before going to the school.
In any event, it seems as though the Canadian band Rush predicted the potential for people like this. Alienation can lead to despair. And let's face it, we live in a very violent society. Here are some lyrics to the song with a young man in the video who seems to fit the profile of the anti-social, confused, lonely, Travis Bickle-in-waiting type...
Growing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone...
Here's a scene from the great Martin Scorcese movie Taxi Driver. The lonely, alienated Bickle sitting in his apartment with a gun, waiting for an excuse to become violent. It is no surprise this character became the model for loners and misfits all over the country, John Hinkley, Jr. being the most infamous...