(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) When someone supposed to make people laugh makes them cry it's a sign things are not normal.
Someone like a joker as James Holmes called himself when held by police after he was done killing and wounding around 70 people at a movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado, including Veronica Moser-Sullivan the "vibrant little girl" killed young at six.
There's something not right with people like James Holmes 24, termed by the people who knew him as a loner living alone who'd keep to himself. Quite like it was not right with Gang Lu 26, a loner who killed five people including himself at the university of Iowa on November 1, 1991 or Colin Ferguson who shot and killed six passengers and wounded 19 others on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train, Garden City, New York on December 7, 1993 whose neighbours described him as someone keeping to himself or Michael McDermott who killed seven people at Wakefield, Massachusetts on December 26, 2000 who lived alone and was termed by one of his coworkers as never seen talking to the people or Jiverly Wong who killed 13 people in Binghamton, New York on April 3, 2009 a divorced man described by one of his coworkers as "quiet" or Scott Evans Dekraai a divorced man who killed eight people in Seal Beach, California on October 12, 2011.
Besides being male a lot of gun and bombs' men had "loneliness" as the common denominator, this analogy of course leaves out people like Timothy McVeigh the killer of around 168 people in Downtown Oklahoma City on April19, 1995, Nidal Malik Hasan killer of 13 people at Fort Hood , Texas on November 5, 2009 and Jared Lee Loughner the killer of six people at Casas Adobes, near Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011 who were driven by "ideological" adrenalin.
But we can't generalise the incident of homicide in United States just like we can't do so in lots of other geographies especially when taking into consideration the whopping figures involved in case of this country, 270 million firearms in private hands with 300,000 deaths by gunshots in the past decade only, which is more than the combined US deaths during Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Psychiatric disorder accounts for only about four per cent of violent behaviour, across the spectrum from minor to serious assaultive acts. However, loneliness itself is not a psychiatric abnormality though it could be an outcome or generator of such a condition thus in a true sense it's far more lethal than any psychiatric ailment.
Gunmen killing scores of people often with no direct relations or animosity and often with ambiguous, obscure or unexplainable motives is part of the continuous US folklore now, divorced, single, disillusioned with people and surroundings, men with a history of disturbed lives. Most of the Americans would never agree to the fact that it's the lack of family living, an absence of dependable and continuous outlet and fallback support for individual frustration and depression that families provide to their members, which contribute to eruption of violent human reaction to supposed grievances, misgivings which could be as varied as losing jobs and salaries to getting bullied in institutes and offices.
The unattended problem harming US society is that Americans in their self appraisal have reached super human levels of accomplishments where they feel unmistakably justified to teach others without learning from others. However, human lives value more than ill founded vanity of values so though it may sound profane to the legendary American wisdom but maybe an un American solution is just what needed for this folklore American problem of everyday life men turning into deadly gunmen, the solution that's still intact in a society like Pakistan's, people living in families, living close and personal in families.
We, of course, cannot dare prescribe an "anomaly" like joint family system to people as "advanced" as Americans but a closer and continuous contact between close relations could be a good beginning to reversal of a social formality into warmth of close relations. Girl friends and boy friends, peers and buddies are no substitute for parents and siblings.
Life's not a joke to be taken lightly.
Syed Moazzam Hai is a freelance contributor