Alison Parker, and cameraman Adam Ward, were caught on video twice--first by Ward's own camera, and then by the "selfie" video taken by the killer, Vester Lee Flanagan II, which was posted to social media, who went on to fatally shoot himself.
These people were so young and promising, and the newsroom they worked from seemed like such a tight-knit working family, that I am certain their loss is keenly felt. As for the shooter, his history and 23-page long suicide note definitely straddle some areas of concern regarding his mental health, and how in the hell he had more access to a weapon than to psychiatric counseling (he basically seems to me to have become paranoid--every setback was personal, his ideas about what to do in response became more grandiose). And yet, for a person who has developed an idea that people were out to get him, the idea of getting counseling was probably especially appalling to him. To a person with paranoid ideas, one's self-image is invested in the idea that "I'm alright, it's the bastards who have it in for me who are the problem!" This kind of resentful outlook is the basis of a lot of workplace-related slayings.
The sad thing is, the idea of such crimes is so familiar now. This year, we are now averaging more than one mass shooting a day. I am starting to wonder, what with the ubiquity of social media and the 24 hour cable news cycle, whether a lot of us have become in a sense, traumatized by proxy, and just go around with some low-key PTSD view that the world is dangerous if not hostile, that violence is like rain or fires in that one doesn't ask "if" but "when" questions about it. The 23-page blather of the shooter shouts out to the Columbine killers and Seung-Hui Cho. We casually refer to these kinds of shootings as "senseless"--but maybe, for a certain kind of mentality, mass killing is the thing that, to them, makes sense of the rotten world they find themselves in.
It seems we need sort out how to locate broken people before they break everyone around them--or at least stop them from doing so. We need to tone down the idea that violence is ever a real solution. We need to see the signs before, not after, the terror has happened. We need to talk about gun violence and how people with no business near a gun find themselves so easily getting access to them.