This week I was going to write about a comparison of the Palestinian elections to the ABC hit show, “Dancing with the Stars.” Not to trivialize a historical event in our time, but, with all said and done, it was worthy of such comparison. We’ve seen the aftermath and know what to expect.
And then it happened on Monday, Jan. 30, at 9:15 p.m. A disgruntled former employee of the United States Postal Service showed up at the postal complex on Storke Road with a gun, snuck past security measures and killed six innocent people before finally turning the weapon on herself. What a waste of six good lives.
You can sit and try to figure out time and again why these things happen. Is it guns? Sure, they kill people, but it takes people to fire guns at other people. Besides, you can cause just as much mayhem with a car on a busy street. If you don’t believe me, just ask David Attias about that fateful night back in 2001.
Mental illness? These days we have a happy pill for everything and therapy to talk things over. The only problem is convincing a person who needs help that they need help. Like the song by Poe says, “You can’t talk to a psycho like a normal human being.”
Evil? Now there’s a concept that has lived through the ages. My dearly departed mom used to have a saying that went like this: “The devil isn’t good at being the devil just because he’s the devil. He’s good at it because he’s been the devil for a long time.” So could it be that some people harbor anger such as that which was seen on Monday night for long periods of time?
You could call the events that unfolded on Monday night as pure evil, but it won’t bring the innocent victims back. They’re in the hands of God now.
This kind of thing happens all the time and will continue to happen. Whether it’s a schoolyard or a workplace is irrelevant. When the loss of a life occurs at the hands of a murderer, it is still murder. No matter where the location or what the justification for the act is, it can’t bring the victim back. Once gone, a life is gone forever.
There are a lot of angry people walking the earth these days. It could be the reclusive neighbor across the way or that socially awkward person that sits in the far corner of your class. You can safely assume that anyone around you is capable of snapping at any given moment with dire consequences.
In places like Iraq or Gaza, it is suicide bombers bent on the hateful destruction of anyone with different ideas than theirs. Here, it is way different. Some people will find a plethora of reasons to hurt, maim or kill. It could be a lost job, a bitter breakup, expulsion from school or a meth rage. In most cases, the reason is self-induced, but it is so easy to take it out on others, especially when the odds are in the wacko’s favor.
I’m angry right now as I write this. The reason for that is because seven innocent, unarmed people were gunned down in an act of pure evil. It doesn’t matter if the suspect probably never met any of the victims. All that matters is that they were easy targets and the weapon was loaded.
I hate writing columns such as this, but it has to be done. It is my way of letting out the anger I’m feeling toward the person who committed seven murders in our community. Whoever said that it is overwhelming when it hits close to home was right. This loss has occupied my mind throughout the day.
My heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to Dexter Shannon, Ze Fairchild, Nicola Grant, Guadalupe Swartz, Maleka Higgins and Charlotte Colton, as well as their families and friends in the days to come. Heaven just got six new souls to share an eternity of peace with.
As for the shooter, she’ll have to answer to something greater than any one of us could ever be. But don’t be mistaken by that ambivalent comment. I’m too angry to ask for God’s mercy on her soul and it is an anger that is going to last for some time. They say it is no use being angry toward a dead person. In this case, I beg to differ. After all, I’m only human, bound to err.
So here we are, a community that has suffered a tragic loss at the hands of evil. There are lessons to be learned by this sad loss and the biggest lesson is this: Life is too short, so please, in this life, be good to each other. It’s the only life we have until the next one – make it good.
Henry Sarria is a long-time Isla Vista resident.