Saturday, December 15, 2012

Not again

In the morning paper, a heartbreaking article about a deranged man who attacked an elementary school in Henan Province, China, stabbing twenty-two. There have been a series of such attacks since 2010.

Most of the attackers have been mentally disturbed men involved in personal disputes or unable to adjust to the rapid pace of social change in China, underscoring grave weaknesses in the antiquated Chinese medical system’s ability to diagnose and treat psychiatric illness. 

Although nine were hospitalized, nobody was killed, thank goodness.

A few hours later it was our turn. This time the children did die.

There are no words. (I just howled.)

Or (I can write this a day later) are there too many words? The fumbling formulaic attempts to name the individuality of victims we're grieving only because they all died together. (We don't name the thousands shot one by one every year.) The crass comparisons with the last massacre. (A category error.) The hollow hopes that it's time finally that something be done, haunted by the last time we said this, and the time before that, the time before that. (The heartbreak of political failure - but try this anyway.) The sleazy smear "politicization." (The irrelevance of victims after all.)

Words fail and we have nothing but words.

What barbarous society even has the word "school shooting"!

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