Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 15, 2013

No one is disposable

‘He was just kind of left by himself,” a friend of Richard Shoop commented to reporters.

I never met Shoop, but I nearly ran into him a few nights ago at a Nordstrom in Paramus, N.J. He had just shot a rifle in the air there, starting a mass panic and police lockdown that ended in Shoop committing suicide. Like every other customer and worker in the mall at the time of the incident, I’m unharmed — Shoop evidently wasn’t prepared to hurt anyone but himself. I just can’t get Shoop off my mind.

Based on the media testimony of family and friends, Shoop seemed like he was trying to be functional. He went to work and lived his life. But he would fall into addiction, violence and confusion. And he’s not alone.

In her book “Men on Strike,” Dr. Helen Smith writes that in 2010, more than 38,000 people killed themselves in the United States — more than 30,000 of them men. Why would Shoop choose to terrorize a mall before taking his own life? Perhaps because we don’t notice people until they do something really crazy.

“People care almost as little about suicide in young men as they do about men in general, which is to say, not a lot,” Smith, also the author of “Scarred Heart,” a book about teens who kill. She adds: “In a world where everyone is so busy and the culture full of hostility for men and boys — their inner psychological life is taboo unless it conforms to the societal ideal ... Add to this a constant barrage of cable news giving media time to mass shooters over and over, and it is little wonder that a confused young man thinks that the way to gain recognition and attention to his plight is by a public display of suicide, or worse, harming others.”

Text Only
Opinion
  • Keeping up with the Comcast call-center fiasco I’ve been intending for a while to write about the Comcast call-center fiasco, but it’s hard to keep up: the story just gets weirder and weirder. Following the now-viral recording of the telephone call in which a customer service representative essen

    August 21, 2014

  • System needed for choosing House In the original conception of our Constitution, the House of Representatives was to be the branch of government that best reflected the will of the people. House members cannot serve without being elected — vacancies are not filled by appointees — an

    August 21, 2014

  • Dems plead for more money I’ve been getting a lot of email from Democratic fundraisers lately. They seem very worried about November’s elections.First came the highly publicized “Impeachment Red Alert” campaign, in which the Democratic congressional committee warned that Repu

    August 21, 2014

  • Why Obama shouldn't go to Ferguson On Monday, ABC’s Ann Compton asked President Barack Obama whether he would visit Ferguson, Missouri, amid the continued unrest. Obama didn’t give a firm answer, but he did suggest it’s probably not a good idea.“When they’re conducting an investigatio

    August 20, 2014

  • Food stamps' $80B secret spending program Imagine a government program that has exploded in size, is the subject of bitter partisan haggling and spends almost $80 billion a year in secret.No, not the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Secu

    August 20, 2014

  • Vouchers provide greater choice I was chatting the other day with a fellow who, along with his wife, homeschool his children. We joked about the stereotype: Moms in denim skirts.But then he expounded on the benefits his youngsters have derived from being taught at home: a customize

    August 20, 2014

  • A rare experience Alexandra Petri’s editorial, “What exactly are we seeing in Ferguson” is well written and did something which has increasingly become a rare experience for me. Her article caused me to think!Petri makes the case for media coverage of American events,

    August 19, 2014

  • Naive? Simple? I will admit outright that I may be a little naïve and tend to look at things through a simple prism. I received a suggestion for a column with an accompanying article written by By Reed Abelson and Eric Lichtblau concerning the failure of our govern

    August 19, 2014

  • Don't pass 'coup clause' with a security waiver It is a sad reality that national security waivers often render human rights laws moot, inviting the government to overuse the loophole to accommodate immediate needs. The “coup clause,” which mandates foreign aid suspension to countries after a mili

    August 19, 2014

  • Clinton could end up like Gore Although we’re all still sort of pretending that it remains to be seen whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016, she recently gave the most definitive confirmation she has to date of her impending candidacy. No, she didn’t say the words

    August 16, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks