Saturday, November 28, 2015

One Step Away: Our New Threat

I'm not defending the violence in today's world or making excuses for people who spin out of control and take lives. I'm just pointing out there there are increasing numbers of people out there who are angry; bitter; hurting and disgruntled. So many appear to be just a few steps away from a breakdown, which lately seems to progress to acting out publicly to make a statement. And sometimes that statement is about taking lives, either in a final bid for attention or a desperate wake up call.

I believe it's going to get worse. Maybe all these things that are happening are showing us something. maybe our society is broken because so many people are walking on edge. Phrases such as "he's like a powder keg", "disgruntled employee" and "disturbed" - aren't those words we hear over and over? How many people are actually too close to shattering?

It was heartbreaking to read about the college student which, up until October, had led a seemingly normal life. Yet events which happened - preventable ones - triggered responses of fear, embarrassment and anger, likely leading to his death. Acting out in response to those emotions caused an entire school lock down and closure as people feared a possible public retaliation, but it didn't end like that. Instead, Jacob Marberger died alone, in a vehicle parked on a lonely back road, with no other lives harmed. And yes, still; a tragedy. 

In this article Jacob Marberger is mentioned by a fellow student as "highly intelligent". He was involved in student politics and theatre, and until October it appears there had never been any incidents regarding his behavior. 

"Family and friends describe Marberger as a young sophomore with a promising future who fell on tough times." What I find most disturbing is the possibility that incidents like these were rare and not normal for Jacob. This article lists a few recent events leading to the meltdown and tragedy which occurred: "Jacob Marberger’s father says his son is a lost individual who is embarrassed with himself" and "He reported being bullied in early October". Did that trigger his behavior and if so, was he that close to snapping at any given time?

Where does it end? How can we address what could be a deadly missing link in the minds and makeup of so many? I'm grieving over people I don't even know, because far too often - while reading their stories - similar clues begin to emerge. And we have no idea how to stop it.

In memory of Jacob Marberger.
Photo from his facebook page, now turned into a memorial site at