An unnecessary response

By Heather Acheson, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

There are no words to accurately describe the horror of the recent shootings that took place in Clackamas, Ore., and Newtown, Conn.

All told, 29 innocent people died in those two events alone.

In the days following these events, seeing pictures of the dead and hearing their families’ words of sorrow and remembrance, hit many of us at our emotional core — whether we knew the victims or not. We wonder why and how this happened, and realize it could have just as easily been our town and our community.

While for most of us our immediate reaction to these events was disbelief and empathy for the victims and their families, some apparently chose instead to focus on how this incredible tragedy could actually be the source of a practical joke or trick.

According to numerous news reports, rumors and threats of violence spiked in the days after the Clackamas Town Center shooting and the Newtown massacre. Locally, because of potential threats, schools in Kelso, Wash., and Banks, Albany, Clackamas and Tigard, Ore., all either issued warnings or completely closed school. The timing of those subsequent rumors and threats is not likely coincidental. In the wake of one of the most horrendous mass shootings in American history, they were meant to cause fear in children, parents, and educators, not to mention more work for law enforcement officials who were forced to investigate.

Finding the words to describe the despicable way in which some chose to respond to the recent tragedies comes a little easier, and heartless, disgusting, destructive and unnecessary are just a few.

It’s almost impossible to understand how someone could take a weapon and kill 20 innocent children. And it’s nearly as difficult to understand the people who would choose to respond to those tragedies in this malicious way.