UCC Shooting, Violence in America, and Trauma Responses


I don’t know what to say about the Umpqua Community College shooting. I was in the office when a co-worker read the news from their phone. “A shooter open fire at a community college in Oregon. There are a lot of fatalities,” my co-worker announced. The office hung with silence.

I don’t know how this keeps happening.

I don’t know how, in this year — like every year — there have been so many mass shootings (many of which are domestic violence), and how we can let this continue to be true of life in America. I don’t know how we came to accept this as something normal, something that we continue to normalize by not having a frank discussion about the culture of violence in America, and what we can, and must, do to start changing that culture so that this shit stops happening.

I don’t know how people on 4chan (this does not link to 4chan) can keep encouraging and celebrating these types of violences. I don’t know how (some) people can hold up the men (and it is, primarily, men) who perpetrate these violences as heroes.

How did we grow so detached and apathetic to each other?

A lot of recent media discussions, at least in alt-media circuits, has focused on not using the names of shooters, and that’s the choice I’m making here. There’s a lot of speculation still about motivation — that the shooter supported the IRA, but was targeting Christians (yet not specifically Protestants?). That the shooter had multiple weapons. That the shooter might not have shot folks if he’d had a girlfriend. You can read the news articles as easily as I can, and learn almost nothing.

And of course, that’s how it always is. We speculate so that we can try to make sense of it, so we can try to protect ourselves, so we can make martyrs. We speculate because we’re trying to wrap our minds around the horror of something so violent disrupting the course of regular life — again without acknowledging how this happens all the goddamn time. We do this so we can pretend that we have ways of keeping ourselves safe. It’s a trauma response. It’s heart-breaking.

I’ll update this post, but I’m so sick of it all right now.

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