Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A generation raised by violence

(Photo Credit: World Revolution.org)

Everyone in Utah by now knows about the "mall massacre" at Trolley Square: six dead (including the shooter) and four seriously injured.
Killed were:
• Jeffrey Walker, 53
• Vanessa Quinn, 29
• Kirsten Hinkley, 15
• Teresa Ellis, 29
• Brad Frantz, 25

Wounded and hospitalized are:
• Carolyn Tuft, 43
• Shawn Munns, 34
• Stacy Hansen, 53
• Allen Walker, 16

The shooter was an 18-year old Bosnian immigrant, which means he was born in 1989. It also means that if he grew up in Bosnia, he lived through two genocides (assuming he stayed until 1999). He might have seen people being brutally murdered by their neighbors for no real reason at all. I am not saying this to excuse his actions, far from it. I am speculating like this to show the consequences of allowing children to be victims of and witnesses to massive violence and war.

This is the second time in a few months that a young man from the former Yugoslavia acted out with random violent rage. The first time, Salt Lake got lucky, and no one was hurt [the SLC library bombing]. This time, obviously, was far worse.

Those who grew up in many parts of Africa (especially Rwanda 1994 and Sudan now) risk being tomorrow's Yugoslav violent youth. The same holds true for those who are growing up in Iraq and Afghanistan right now.

As awful as last nights shooting was, worse may be still yet to come if we don't stop letting violence raise another generation of young people.

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