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The Colorado Shootings: Crazy Defies Logic by Amy

This post originally appeared on my blog

For the past five days, while traveling in Banff, I have had little connection to the “real world.” No TV news, no NPR on constantly while driving, no Facebook, no phone calls with family or friends. All of this added to a true sense of vacation that was desired, and achieved.

That ended briefly the other day when we found NPR on the satellite radio feature of our rental car, and heard the news of the bombing of a bus full of Israeli tourists. It was particularly striking to me, as we were in a somewhat remote pocket of the world filled with groups of tourists from all over. While on hiking trails we heard every language and accent imaginable, including Hebrew. On one guided tour we shared a bus with Brits, Aussies and a family from Cypress, on one hike we witnessed a Muslim man praying peacefully on a secluded patch of grass by the side of a lake surrounded by mountains. All of us brought together in a specific place to enjoy, to recreate, to take it all in.

People whose politics, whose religions, whose way of life may have been in conflict with one another under different circumstances, but for that moment in time, were united in some way because we had all come with family or friends to enjoy the splendor Banff had to offer. People who didn’t speak the same language, but when you offered to take their picture together nodded “yes”, said “thank you” and returned the favor. People who “ooh”-ed and “aah”-ed at the same sight, people who helped you spot the bear by the side of the road because that experience was universal. People just like those Israeli tourists.

That news was a disruption but we returned to vacation mode. Vacation ended abruptly and permanently once we arrived at the airport in Calgary. I went on Facebook and read about the shooting in Colorado. I, like everyone else, was horrified and heartsick. I started following link after link trying to catch up, read and listened to news reports and commentaries trying to understand. But understanding this is not possible.

This trip was the first time Paul and I have traveled together alone, on the same plane, since we became parents 20 years ago. The same plane thing is because some would say I am crazy. Crazy, worried, neurotic about catastrophic things like plane crashes. Not worried, neurotic about regular things like driving in a car together which statistically, say my friends who lovingly point out my craziness, is far more dangerous than flying. Not worried, neurotic about regular things like going on a tour bus or to the movies. Oh sure, when traveling as a family in Israel, walking on those ancient crowded streets, in the markets, I had flashes of worry, of “what if. . . . .” but worried, neurotic at the multiplex in suburbia? Never.

And then I thought, “Why not?” Crazy defies logic, knows no bounds, follows no rules. My little harmless crazy and the big destructive crazy unleashed on innocent people at the parking lot of my cousin’s grocery store in Tucson, the food court in Toronto, on a tour bus in Bulgaria, and at the midnight movies in Colorado. It just doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t make any sense that a woman would survive the shooting in Toronto only to die at the movies in Colorado. There is no understanding this. We cannot apply logic to this. It simply doesn’t work. I fear the commentators and the analysts trying so hard to find pieces that add up to an answer that makes sense are wasting their time. I mean honestly, is there anything James Holmes could say, anything that we could learn about him that would make this make sense other than sick? Other than crazy?

Do I agree with the commentators who say we need stricter guns laws? Yes, I do. Do I believe that it is no coincidence that countries with stricter gun laws have fewer crimes like this? Yes, I do. Do I believe the streets and neighborhoods of this world are no place for automatic guns? Yes, I do. Do I believe laws are an equal match for crazy? In the case of the shooting in Colorado, a match for full body armor neuroscience Ph.D. crazy? I am not so sure. Do I wish there were fewer talented creative people using their talent, creativity, money and public platform to produce expensive, successful, alluring movies and video games glorifying violence? Yes, I do. Do I wish fewer people would reward those people with huge box office numbers, huge profits and record sales? Yes, I do. Do I believe those people should be not be allowed to make those movies and video games? I am not so sure.

Do I believe that it is the guns, the art, the religious or political rhetoric that cause these tragic events? No, I do not. I believe it is the sick and the crazy that kills. However, I do believe that the circumstances are ripe for the crazy to mix with the all too accessible guns, the glorified violence, the hate speak. I do believe that is what kills, that is what destroys. I do believe that the current broken condition of the human spirit, and the current corrupt condition of the world when mixed with sick, when mixed with crazy, are like the hot and cold air mixing over vast empty spaces to form tornados, wrecking havoc on otherwise quiet neighborhoods and regular people.

My heart goes out to the victims in Colorado and in Israel, their family, their friends, and their loved ones. My heart also goes out to the family of James Holmes. This week they all are — no, we all are — victims of sick and crazy. Victims who live in a world where ordinary appearing people have access to extraordinary weapons that deliver unimaginable horror and violent deaths to innocent people on vacation and at the movies.


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