Thirteen Dead in Binghamton Massacre

Did Voong go on his rampage because he lost his job? It is true that crime goes up during hard times. But no one has ever found a correlation between mass murder and the economy. Experts say that these tragedies are the result of the shooter feeling personally injured in some way -- real or imagined.

The president issued a statement from Europe, where he is attending ceremonies connected to the 60th anniversary of NATO:

Michelle and I were shocked and deeply saddened to learn about the act of senseless violence in Binghamton, N.Y., today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their families and the people of Binghamton.

A press conference on the massacre in Binghamton was surreal. After Mayor Ryan made some opening remarks, Governor Paterson shouldered his way to the microphone to get a little national TV face time. He was followed quickly by Representative Maurice Hinchey (D). A written statement from both those gentlemen would have sufficed. Instead, we were treated to the spectacle of local and state pols sticking their faces in front of the cameras, using a tragedy for self-aggrandizing purposes.

Is this kind of violence -- and the fact that it occurs with alarming regularity -- simply a reflection of American society and culture? The fact that the probable shooter is a naturalized citizen raises questions as to whether that notion can be applied in this case. Some blame the "gun culture" for this fascination with violence, but there are millions of Americans who are part of that "culture" who will never commit mass murder.

While there is no "explanation" for the violence, the mental health of the killer is usually called into question, especially in cases where the massacre ends in suicide. Could it be that in a nation of 300 million people the number of people afflicted with this kind of suicidal rage is greater than it is elsewhere and therefore these mass murders a more common occurrence as a result? It is an unknown that will haunt us until the next tragedy dominates the news cycle and tests our ability to continue to be shocked and saddened by the madness.