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The death of innocents-- from Iraq to Blacksburg
We need clear heads and cooperation to stem the horrible violence of our times.

 Amid tragic losses in Iraq and catastrophe at Virginia Tech, is it time for a new spirit of cooperation in America?
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RICHARD AMRHINE
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Date published: 6/17/2007

By Richard Amrhine

TOO MANY peo- ple are at their wit's end, and have decided to self-medicate by taking out their problems on the innocent and unsuspecting. That applies to everyone, from the most private individual to the very public presidential administration.

How's that for seat-of-the-pants psychoanalysis?

Consider the classic angry loners who turn places of learning into chambers of death, whether it's a large Virginia university, a small Amish schoolhouse, or a high school in Colorado. Normal people can't comprehend such abnormal, anti-social behavior.

Do those who walk into their former workplaces and open fire belong in yet another category? What about the desperate soul who kills his or her family and then may or may not take his or her own life?

How do you classify those who use their cars as weapons, whether it's a spur-of-the-moment road-rage reaction to a perceived slight, or an allegedly drug-fueled journey of destruction through crowded streets?

Why do those who commit mass murder, such as by bombing a federal office building in Oklahoma City or a Middle Eastern marketplace, or by flying airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, think that such acts would further their causes?

In reality, these people are heroes only to fellow irrationals, and pariahs to everyone else.

While every incident or episode is unique, the culprit apparently intends to gain satisfaction by inflicting pain and suffering on his victims and their survivors. Some of the killers keep themselves safely out of harm's way as the deed is done, while others willingly give their lives in the process or take themselves out shortly thereafter.

These villains use very different yardsticks to determine how long they'll stick around to "enjoy" their deeds.

I generally reject the notion that one era or generation is "worse" than the one before it; each endures confounding experiences that suggest the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Blame is always assigned to such things as godlessness, selfishness, hopelessness, the culture's or media's lack of conscience, poor parenting, the abundance or lack of guns, or the pressures and haste of modern life.

But most would agree that the start of this century has had more than its share of record-setting death and destruction.


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