Thirteen Dead in Binghamton Massacre
The alarming regularity with which these mass killings occur tests our ability to see the human tragedy afresh in each massacre.
April 3, 2009 - 2:22 pm
A lone gunman entered an immigrant services center in downtown Binghamton, New York, on Friday and killed 13 people. Four others were wounded in the massacre that began around 10:30 in the morning and ended three minutes later when the shooter took his own life.
Police sources say the shooter was Jiverly Voong, a 41-year-old resident of the nearby town of Johnson City who had been in the United States for 28 years and was a citizen. He reportedly had been taking language classes at the center. Authorities are saying that name may be an alias. Police refuse to officially name their suspect because of the possibility that the ID found on the body may have been false or stolen.
Voong also recently lost his job at IBM. His motive is unknown at the moment.
It’s hard not to come to the conclusion that, after yet another senseless tragedy involving a disturbed individual who lashes back at a world that he believes has injured him by committing mass slaughter of the innocent, we are gradually becoming inured to this kind of violence.
We are shocked — but not quite as shocked as we were when we heard the news about Columbine. We are horrified — but not quite as horrified as we were when we first tuned in to the Virginia Tech shootings. We are saddened for the victims and their families — but perhaps the feelings of pity and concern are now being replaced by an overweening sense of helplessness in the face of mindless mayhem committed for reasons only the killer believes are just.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, a broken record of commentary and punditry that you can simply go to your Tivo and rerack coverage of any similar outrage to get the gist of their talking points. The talking heads always politicize the tragedy, as partisans seek advantage in pushing their pet issues, piggybacking their arguments on the backs of the slaughtered. And now we have the extra added attraction for the commentators of an economy in the tank and America more afraid, more stressed, and more depressed than in any other economic downturn since the depression.