It was a grotesque scene that Jean Anouilh might have concocted in a weak moment. A bureaucrat at an office party is offended and goes home in a huff. He and his wife change into battle dress, arm themselves with semi-automatic rifles and return to the party, where they murder 14 of his coworkers and wound 17 others.
Before going on their shooting spree, they drop off their baby daughter at Grandma’s.
Sadly, this is not theater of the absurd but real life. And real death.
Is that what we must expect in the future? Mass murder so everyday, so ordinary that the perpetrators drop off their kids at Grandma’s on the way?
That, I am afraid, is the new normal.
Accused mass murderer Syed Rizwan Farook (above), does not seem to be an “Islamic extremist” although his parents are from Pakistan. Born in the USA, he describes himself on the web as a liberal Muslim. He had worked for the San Bernardino health department for five years. He was 28 years old.
He met his wife, 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, online and traveled to Saudi Arabia to marry her two years ago. Coworkers gave them a baby shower.
Sounds chillingly normal, doesn’t it?
On Black Friday, background checks for gun purchases set a record across the nation. The President’s pleas for gun control fall on deaf ears. Bribed and intimidated by the NRA, Congress shrugs off the laments of victims’ families and the urgent arguments of activists.
With each passing day, Americans become more armed and dangerous.
In a society where everyone has access to firearms, everyone is a potential mass murderer. A moment of pique or passion can flare into a massacre at a moment’s notice. A brooding grudge can erupt into bloody revenge. None of us is safe.
It’s not just terrorists we have to watch out for. Not just crazies and criminals. Not even individuals who have some reason to wish us dead.
Last week it was a drifter on an anti-abortion rampage. This week it’s an offended bureaucrat and his wife. Next week? It could be the guy next to you at the office. Or the kindly old guy at the farmer’s market who gave your kid an apple. Or the waitress who brought you your hash browns with a smile just yesterday…
I cannot believe this is the society the Founding Fathers envisaged when they wrote the right to bear arms into the US Constitution. After all, the Constitution charges our government with keeping us safe, too.