Monday, February 4, 2013




Mass shootings.


Deaths of children.

And children … and children.

 I ease up warily to the news  these days.  Will there be another shooting today?   Did some young man decide today is the day to avenge, to  erupt, to disappear from earth, to make a name, to claim his 15 minutes of fame?

Who should have seen and known and reported or aided or medicated? Who should have noticed tears or lack of tears, or wild talk… or murderous silence?

We wonder… after…. could that be me or mine or them or theirs?  
Could I have been in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people when he showed up to obliterate his pain by creating my pain/our pain?

The newspapers carry stories and interviews—we examine his childhood, school records, the parents, the neighbors, the papers he wrote, his Facebook page, the statement he reportedly made on the playground on Thursday, the time he would not answer the teacher in class…


there was no evidence, no trail, no inkling, no portent of the coming rain of bullets. We didn’t know.  We don’t believe…

The headlines we face daily lately and the news on the radio jumps out at us… and we moan… Oh No! Not again!

After Virginia Tech erupted in gunfire, after Columbine, after Trayvon Martin died going home from the store, after Batman invaded the Century Movie Theater in Aurora , after the Sikh Temple shootings, after Newtown ...

How do we talk about this?  What conversations do we need to begin?

Sometimes the only way to make sense of the realities in our world is to turn to fiction. Fiction can reveal the truths clothed in stories of imagination. Making Up Megaboy by Virginia Walter is one such fiction that leads us into conversations that help us examine our thoughts, perspectives, questions, and surprise at these events. I find that books always fall into my hands when they are needed and I discovered this one after the Virginia Tech shooting. Originally published in 1998, It could have been written this year, given its plot and theme. 

Robbie Jones, a middle-school student, takes his father’s gun and shoots an elderly Korean store owner.  This short young adult novel is a case study, an inquiry, that examines Robbie’s life through the lenses of those connected to him before and after the shooting-- teachers, parents, news journalists, best friend.  His life unfolds through their eyes allowing us to turn over the possibilities of his life and sort through the various pieces of evidence or lack thereof.

Through his story, we can begin conversations about the alienated, the mentally ill, the substance-filled, the youths, and others with ready access to guns.

We can begin to take a close look at our landscape which contains such violence.

We can also begin to ask: Who am I in these stories?

Today’s Deeper Writing Possibility
Have you or your family or friends been personally affected by a shooting?
What do you remember about the event?

Write about the events from your perspective.

Then try writing about the events through the eyes of others involved.

No comments:

Post a Comment