Relatively uninhibited philosophizings on self and kosmos whenever the mood strikes...
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
What Was He Thinking?
A young man walked into a Salt Lake City mall last night and calmly and indiscriminately shot to death two young women, two men, and a teenage girl and wounded four others before police killed him with a hail of gunfire after he failed to drop his weapon and surrender. Had the police not responded as quickly as they did--reports are that the gunman was "contained" within six minutes of the first gunshots fired--many more might have died or been wounded.
The question that comes to mind is, Why did this young man do what he did? Was it a case of "suicide by cop"? It's doubtful that he expected to live after he murdered those people. The fact that he responded to a command to surrender by firing shotgun blasts at police certainly suggests this.
But if he wanted to die, why did he want to kill as many innocent people as he could first? Whether Christian or not, don't most people fear "dying in sin" enough or feel sufficient uncertainty about what might await them in a possible afterlife that the last thing they would want to do just before dying is murder as many innocent people as possible?
I don't know about you, but if I wanted the police to kill me, I'd be as much of a saint as I could be for as long as possible before the fateful moment. And when that moment came, I'd do something to attract the police's attention that didn't harm anyone, and I would point an unloaded gun at police to get them to shoot me.
Don't worry, I have no desire to commit suicide by cop or any other means. But if I did, I would be an agnostic male version of Mother Teresa beforehand. I wouldn't walk into a mall with a shotgun and handgun and start blowing away men, women, and girls out doing an evening's shopping.