Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Claresholm Slaughter

It's been a week now since the early morning slaughter of three young people and maiming of another - followed by the equally young shooter's own suicide - on a cold stretch of highway north of Claresholm, Alberta.  The shock and tragedy of it all is still almost incomprehensible.  All four families of the deceased deserve our heartfelt sympathy and support, as does the plucky lone survivior.  It's pretty obvious now that two of the deceased and the wounded survivor were "in the wrong place at the wrong time".  That's disturbing enough for all of us who have socially-active young people because there's no way to protect them from random acts of violence such as this.  It was a hideous twist of fate for them - no more, no less.  That doesn't make it any easier on their bereaved families, but that is the cold, hard truth.  The "domestic dispute"on the other hand (as we sanitize what was obviously a premeditated murder hours after a jealous confrontation) is where we need to dig deeper to try to understand this tragedy.  There apparently were signs that the shooter was coming unglued both that day and in the weeks preceding; the requests that his friends spy on his girlfriend when he was away, the pushes and shoves on several occasions, the verbal threat and physical confrontation earlier in the evening.  (Physical abuse of any kind should be a red flag to us all, people.)  Someone should have said something to somebody.  As for the availability of firearms, I believe he would have found a way to kill whether or not he legally owned four guns - but it certainly made the carnage worse.  Still, someone had to load those guns and pull the trigger.  So what was wrong with this young man?  There are those who point to his "failure" as a young Mormon.  Sadly, that may be part of it - but there were other factors.  Friends say - without using the term - that Derek Jensen was a "pleaser", who could fix anything and would "give you the shirt off his back".  Laudable qualities.  Who wouldn't want a friend like that?  I look at the picture of him over and over again.  I think I see things in his eyes, his face, his posture.  But that's all retrospective bunk.  My conclusion?  Some of us live to please others - but what happens if our efforts are rejected by our church, our girlfriend, others in our life?  This was a young man who needed help.  Somebody should have said something to somebody.  My heart goes out to all.