I don’t need to read about it. I don’t need the grisly headline or interviews with neighbors who had no idea. I don’t need psychologists deconstructing the tortured motives of the shooter. I can fill in the blanks. We all can.
It’s not that I don’t care. During my 25 years of teaching on both coasts, I’ve sat through the funeral of a student who died on the wrong end of a beef in Dorchester, and had a bullet pierce the window of my eighth-grade history class in Oakland. Not to worry, said the cop who showed up the next day. Just a drive-by. Probably not meant for you.
But if you’re not going to tell me how we get guns away from the criminally disturbed, or, at least, how we keep weapons meant for warfare out of their hands, just spare me the gory details. As the cop told me: This isn’t news.
Serving up this familiar narrative makes reporters publicists for the murderer. It turns the rest of us into morbid voyeurs, rubbernecking at the latest pile-up.
What we need are fresh perspectives and feasible solutions. Offer these, or leave us, and the departed, in peace.