A possible reason for the rampages

The Amish shooting incident and others seem to beg for an explaination. There is probably no single reason. One possibility is a percieved decline in the reliability of institutions. That decline is harkened by myriad new stories: House representative Foley's sexual perversions, doping in Major League Baseball, accounting irregularities at HP (and the stock option scandal, and Enron, and...), Bob Woodwards book about the incompetency of George Bush, stories about vote fixing (in the US), Catholic bishops stealing millions of dollars from their churches (and raping young boys), police misuse of force in Louisiana and elsewhere.

I'm sure I've forgotten a few (indeed, I've left out a slew of ethical allegation stories, like those involving Wal-Mart's labor practices, the oil companies polluting our environment and profiteering on political events, the car-makers and their SUVs, etc). The sheer bulk of these stories has raised the level of cynicism in me to uncomfortable hieghts. I feel like I can't trust any institution.

This is in stark contrast to my youth. I think it was because of my mothers incessant (and annoying, embarrasing) complaints at my school. The administrators and teachers were no doubt unhappy about this, but underneath all of that was the faith that my mother had that she could work in the system to change it. And more often than not, she did. If those administrators had stopped to consider the alternative, they too would have been overjoyed to deal with my mother.

These child shooters in school were undoubtadly overcome with rage. But why did the rage get so bad? Could it be that they simply didn't have faith that the system could help them? Could it be that working with the system is a way to let that anger out in a nonviolent way?

When you can't trust the police, or your employer, or the government, or your church, or even your church where do you turn for succor? Friends and family. And when you're a teen struggling with friends and family? You turn to no-one, let the anger build to fever pitch, and then do the unthinkable.

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