I saw some of the FaceBook pages clips from yesterday’s shooter’s FaceBook page before those were taken down and they were frightening. The rants and the rage that this man displayed were of the type that anyone who knew him or followed his FaceBook postings should’ve suspected he was a ticking bomb. It is one thing to see that degradation in his view of reality and entirely another to know what steps to take. But, the clues were there.
A radio host, Bryan Crabtree, from the Atlanta area used the phrase Our ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’ to point up the issues this man was showing he had for some time. That is probably among the most dead-on statements to describe this man that could have been uttered. He had apparently become more and more vocal and vile in his postings. Some were of the type to almost literally make you sick to your stomach. He was a hater, pure and simple, and he tipped over the edge from barely rational to out-of-control-angry on the mission that he felt compelled to take on.
We know he was a Bernie Sanders supporter. That doesn’t make him a killer, but it does give us a good idea of his politics. His victims were to be Republicans since we know he asked who was on the field before he began the firing. We know that there were a couple of Capitol Hill police officers present and that fact tells us this could’ve been far more tragic had they not been there and engaged the shooter immediately.
Hindsight most always shows us what led to the happening in these tragedies. But what can we do pre-tragedy, if anything, to defuse/eliminate the threat? We have individual freedoms. I can write what I choose, I can make FaceBook postings, my blogs post to my FaceBook page so I am sort of an open book. If I were to go ‘over the edge’ or give indications I was about to go ‘over the edge’ what could you do about that? I don’t know that even the ‘canary in the coal mine’ warnings are something that could be used to stop me or anyone from doing something dastardly. It might be that my family could do something, but if I were really ‘wigged out’ would they feel safe in doing so?
I would like to think that would happen out of their love for me, but we cannot get into the minds of those who were in his world to know how they might’ve felt about his sliding into the role he seemed to occupy simply based on those postings. Those were vile and threatening from my point-of-view…but what would I have done if that were my father? I’d like to think that I would tackle the problem from the perspective of doing it for his own good and out of my love for him, but maybe I’d be hesitant and he would’ve gone over the edge before I could find the courage to do something to help him.
This is again one of those times for us to search our souls. It is a time for us to wonder what we’ve become as a people. I wondered about the fact that he was in an ‘open carry’ jurisdiction and the implications of someone having been there who was carrying at that time. Then, I thought about all the thousands of rounds I’ve expended over time, none of which were aimed at a living person. How would I react? I’d like to think I’d react to deal with the problem, but until I have been in that spot I won’t really know the answer to that question.
We are living in a time when we need to be aware of everything around us all the time. I preach this so often that people around me cringe when that theme starts again, but it is true. If you were confronted with an issue that is threatening right now, what would you do? I try to be aware all the time as I’ve preached to readers before. I know where possible exit routes are every time I walk into a store or office building. My head is on a swivel whenever I am outside. I am constantly aware of the people around me. We all need to be aware. Would that have changed the outcome yesterday? Probably not, but that is not an excuse to avoid being wary.