Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘school shootings

For Shooters of Students, Can Forgiveness Ever Be Obtained?

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The title thought is what has been going through my mind, ever since I heard about the latest school shooting. Because I just don’t understand why, over and over and over again, we have shooting after shooting, killing after killing, and nothing at all seems to be getting done to prevent it from happening with such great frequency.

I don’t know if forgiveness can ever be obtained for people like the latest shooter, a seventeen-year-old boy (who, as per my policy, I will not name). Someone that young, that troubled, that upset, or that evil, is someone I don’t know how to help and don’t know how to reach.

Among those who are confirmed dead in this latest shooting (this time at Santa Fe High School in Texas) are a foreign exchange student from Pakistan, two teachers, and a number of other young students. They all had worth and value to their families, their friends, and to the world in general, whether they knew it or not…they helped to make up the fabric of our society, and were perhaps the best of what we are.

Questioners. Students. Learners. Teachers.

I have no way to forgive the latest shooter, in my heart. I just can’t do it.

In fact, the only thing that’s given me any solace regarding the latest in these series of deadly school shootings is Linkin Park’s song “What I’ve Done.” I first heard it years ago, when I didn’t know who the band was, or why they were writing it, but the song struck a chord in me then that was so powerful, I remembered enough of the song to find it again now, when I needed it the most.


In this video of “What I’ve Done,” there are all sorts of unforgivable things referenced, along with a few good things. This helps to remind you that no matter how bad things have gotten, and no matter what evil may have happened, the sun will come up tomorrow and there will be at least one good thing there to brighten your day if you look hard enough.

While I think that’s true, I also know that it gets harder and harder to look for those good things.

Now, does that mean you should stop looking for them? Absolutely not.

We have to keep looking for positive things. We have to believe that tomorrow will be better than today, or at least different…we have to believe that somewhere, somehow, someday, we will find a way to prevent at least a few of these horrendous actions, so more people will live, and less people will have to face up to their truly unforgivable actions.

But for now, all I can ask, again and again, is the title question: Can forgiveness ever be obtained for those who shoot up schools? (Or movie theaters, or concerts, or any place innocent people assemble, who just want to be living their lives in peace and without fear of random gunmen.)

If you have any answers for me, let me know in the comments. (Thanks.)

A Quick Note About My Blog…

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Folks, I’ve been asked this question in the not-so-distant past:

“Barb, why do you talk about school shootings/sports/politics/current events? Why don’t you just talk about publishing, or your stories, or happy stuff?”

While I talk about my stories — and quite often — I feel a need to talk about the things that concern me. As a writer of young adult fiction in particular, school shootings hurt. I think back to my school days, which weren’t the world’s easiest, and wonder how much worse things would’ve been had someone opened fire at my high school.

Or worse yet, at my junior high. Or even at my elementary school.

While I cannot begin to understand what the people who’ve endured school shootings at Sandy Hook or Washington State have gone through, I can at least empathize with them. And I try to do that, while discussing what disturbs me so much about these atrocious, horrific events.

Now, as for why I talk about everything else? Sports — that’s easy. I love sports, always have, and it gives me a commonality with others I wouldn’t be likely to have any other way.

I mean, really. I’m a classically-trained musician with two music degrees, a good amount of performing experience (mostly with classical music, but some in other styles, mostly jazz or backing up a pop vocalist), and I write. These things set me apart from the average run-of-the-mill human being.

Yet I think there’s a lot more that I have in common with other people than not. And sports work as a metaphor for that.

Besides, I love the competition. I enjoy the intellectual struggles of the coaches, the little quirks of fate that change the outcomes of various games, and enjoy seeing players overcome all sorts of obstacles.

“But what about current events, Barb? Or most especially politics? Why must you talk about that? Surely you know that Republicans/Democrats/Independents/Martians buy books, too, and that every post you put up that’s against one of these groups is likely to alienate people?”

I talk about current events because they interest me. I try to pay attention to what happens in this life. I can’t comment on it all, no. But the important stuff, I try to say something if I can. Because being buried in an edit or working out changes in a contracted story just isn’t all that interesting for anyone who’s not actively involved in the process of writing or editing…though, granted, I’ve had various things to say about the writing process or the editing process in the past, and probably will again.

And I talk about politics because I live in the United States of America, a democratic republic. Politics are part of the deal. I may not like what happens with regards to my elected officials; in fact, most of the time I can’t stand it. But it’s up to me to watch what they’re doing in order to make the best possible voting decisions I can.

If that alienates people…well, I’m sorry, but that’s just the way it’s going to have to be. (That we’ve reached such a state in our society that people want their writers to share every last belief with them to the last jot and tittle isn’t good, to put it mildly. But we’ll save that discussion for another day.)

“But — but — happy talk, Barb! The world is so dreary and depressing as it is. Why can’t you just talk about fun stuff? Or post pictures of dogs/cats/chickadees/monkeys, etc.?”

I’m a firm believer in being who I am. And that means “happy talk” is out. (If you’re looking for that from me, you’ve really come to the wrong store.)

Now, if there are no more questions from the peanut gallery (ha!), I’d best get back to what I was doing before. (Namely, editing.)

Until soon, folks…

Written by Barb Caffrey

October 28, 2014 at 6:15 am