On Monday, January 29, 1979, she (Brenda Ann Spencer) opened fire on the school with a rifle, killing 2 adults (including the principal) and injuring 9 kids before going back to her home. Police surrounded her home and waited for 7 hours until she gave herself up. In that time, she spoke with a reporter on the phone. When asked why she did it, she replied, “I just started shooting, that’s it. I just did it for the fun of it. I just don’t like Mondays.
People want there to be a reason for everything. People should have a logical reason for any significant thing they do. Life should make sense. Humans so strongly feel the desire for ratiocination to triumph over chaos and that Charles Williams once remarked that “Hell is (the) indefinite.” No matter how bad a tragedy occurs, we try to find a reason or a purpose behind it.
It is only when we give up trying to figure it out that we call it senseless or lapse into evil satire as Bob Geldof famously did when he heard of the Cleveland Elementary School shooting spree in 1979. So we look for a reason for the seemingly inexplicable things such as Adam Lanza’s shooting spree at a Connecticut Elementary School.
People reach for the easy explanation first. If Lanza didn’t have a gun then he never could have killed innocent children. Let’s immediately ban the guns. We could do a better job of securing the grounds of our schools. Let’s make every place that has children a gun-free zone. The world would be a better place if something that simplistic could succeed.
Yet making murder weapons illegal does very little to deter murderers. Some argue that it makes them even bolder and more sadistic. Adam Lanza, Brenda Spencer, Seung-Hui Cho and the Columbine High School shooters all had the added advantage of no armed resistance as they went on their insane rampages. Cho succeeded in buying handguns despite his diagnosed mental health problems because he simply lied on the background check.
The answers are harder and far less pleasant. Pass gun control laws, lock up schools more tightly and make more place gun-free zones and then react with similar shock and horror when the next active shooter unloads on a restaurant or movie theater instead. If I felt my life depended upon it, I could have at least one viable dose of cocaine, marijuana or even heroin within 72 hours. It would be no different if guns were all banned the same way heroin is. I could have a gun illegally within 72 hours if I felt my life depended upon it.
We can’t stop people from getting anything they strongly or desperately want. These things could be guns, drugs, or even the coerced services of child prostitutes. Al Capone will always find a way to provide it for a price. We can’t prevent Adam Lanza from getting a weapon even if Dick’s Sporting Goods follows Federal law to the letter and turns down Mr. Lanza’s legal tender 72 hours before he commits his atrocities using another set of guns. We are not going to end child pornography or sexual exploitation, win the War on Drugs or prevent the next mass shooting by focusing on any of these things.
We are going to have to realize that society rife with single-parent families (see Lanza and Jovan Belcher), a tendency to completely desensitize people to violence and understate the sacred value of life (see Klebold and Harris), and where people think “I don’t like Mondays” is actually a funny piece of social commentary is not a safe place to raise our children.
Shooting at an Elementary School because “I don’t like Mondays” seems utterly pointless. Maybe that same lack of direction could describe too much of our mundane and unsacred Modern World. This puts a whole new light of Ayn Rand’s old remark that “There is nothing more immoral than a man without a purpose.”