Just a short post to share my relief that the book on school shooters is done and online. I am so glad its over. THe research took me into some grim places including a few from my own past so it is like a dark cloud now breaking up.
The point of its nearly 300 pages is that as usual, we seem to be employing a knee-jerk response based solely on emotion to try to solve a very complex problem that needs objective, intellectual, critical analysis to quit high centering on symptoms and start focusing on root causes. I have zero level of expectation that people will take it to heart and no go ballistic when their pet theories are rejected. The good news is that I rejected those theories from virtually all sides of the spectrum. As a teacher I have this quaint idea that the lives of students and even of the shooters ought to be sufficiently important to force us to do the unthinkable… think.
I have a virtually insatiable curiosity and am open to hearing and considering virtually any concept from any quarter. But I have a ruthless vetting process for those ideas. BEcause of that I tend to not fall prey that often to Huxley’s assertion that “Humans tend to believe what they tend to prefer.” There are many modern concepts that, truth be told, I would by far prefer to be true. THey are often kinder and gentler than others, they are more, to use the current buzz word. sensitive. But when they fail the vetting process they are, to me, nice ideas unsupported by research, history, logic, et al and are sadly abandoned. I do not believe solutions to complex issue can be found in simple or simplistic concepts simply because they are stunningly appealing. In writing this book I have noted many of the offered “solutions” and points of view, assiduously followed that vetting process for them, and, again, sadly rejected most of them despite what would appear on the surface to be actions easier to accomplish than those tough ones I was, in the end, left with. I followed Sherlock Holmes’s dictum that when you have eliminated the impossible, what remains, regardless of how implausible it may sound, must be the truth.
One reviewer noted that my anger was showing through the writing… and they are right. I am quite angry that we constantly look for scapegoats, usually identified collectively as those who think differently from us, and assiduously avoid looking in those dark, scary area we ought to look which is at ourselves. I find that to be intellectually blasphemous in its avoidance of the cognitive capacity with which we are created and given care of our world. Maybe, I can only hope, a collective wake-up slap might at least start a dialogue and if that dialogue can be a civil one, then perhaps, just maybe, something good will come of it.
I have never held myself out as a writer, but I do believe myself to be a creative person. Creativity is about careful observation of our world, a broader view but with an almost contradictory focus that connects dots too often unnoticed by others. It results in a connection of that observation into a tangible result, sometimes visual, sometimes literary, sometimes musical, but that presents to the audience, by whatever means, the conclusions of the author. I was taught, early on, that the real artist is one who does not try to shoehorn every vision into a single media but who can let the subject and the vision determine for them, the proper means of its expression. In this case, the result of my observations and research into the phenomenon of school shootings was this book.
Anyway, here is the link to my page on the printer’s site where you could order a copy if you like and also a copy of the previous book on the future of professional photography.
I’ll be back soon with the post on the BBQ shoot, I promise.