Patterico's Pontifications

7/22/2012

We Can’t Make Sense of Senseless Violence

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:06 am

I wrote a bunch of songs when I was younger, mostly in law school. This is from one of them:

The TV man was mad
At the senseless violence
Would it make him feel better
If somehow it made sense?

I thought of these lines this morning as I hopped online and saw stories discussing the mystery of “why” James Holmes decided to dress up as the Joker and kill a six-year-old child, a woman who narrowly escaped a shooting a month earlier in Toronto, Anita Busch’s relative, and nine others. As if learning the reason will cause us all to nod knowingly and say: “Oh, OK. Now I understand.”

Don’t misunderstand me. I want to know the motive too. It’s a natural focus for our curiosity. When I file a murder case, I am always asking what the motive is. When I try one to a jury, I want the jury to understand why the murder happened. We don’t have to prove motive to a jury, but it sure helps everything make sense if we can.

So yes, try to learn the motive, but remember certain things as you do:

First of all, this is not a mystery. There is no doubt who the killer is.

But more important, I have this feeling that people believe that if they can just understand why this happened, maybe we can structure a society in which such things don’t happen again. Just pass some new law or regulation, and young men armed with heavy weaponry won’t shoot bullets into crowds with young people and children.

It’s not so. We can’t control everything. And evil exists, and always will.

Nice portrait of the victims here. And Anita Busch sends this link to an L.A. Times story about Micayla Medek.


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